Poole’s antique motorcycle show pays tribute to son
By Steve Huffman
GOLD HILL ó Gary Poole says antique motorcycles are a lot like muscle cars of the 1960s.
“You’re very unlikely to lose money if you buy one,” he says. “There’s a tremendous market for them.”
On Saturday, a large assortment of antique and collector motorcycles are expected at Gold Hill Historic Park for the second annual rally in honor of Tyler Poole, a graduate of East Rowan High School who died in an automobile accident April 9, 2004. He was 19.
The rally is organized by Tyler’s father, Gary. Annually since his son’s death, the elder Poole has organized some sort of event to honor Tyler, with proceeds going to fund a college scholarship for a deserving young person.
Initially, Poole staged concerts in his son’s honor, but a year ago, he and his longtime friend, Myron Goodman, settled upon the idea of holding an antique motorcycle exhibition at Gold Hill Park.
The event went over amazingly well, with more than 100 motorcycles on display and more than 2,000 people visiting for all or part of the day.
“We had a really laid-back group, no trouble at all,” Poole says.
“We had old ladies in wheelchairs and everything else you can think of,” Goodman says. “A lot of people just love old motorcycles.”
Saturday’s exhibit kicks off at 10 a.m. and stretches until 5 p.m. There is no charge for admission. Poole says the majority of money raised for the scholarship comes from food sales at the event.
He says he’s had plenty of help staging the event, with his sister, Carol Church, doing much of the work. Poole also says that members of the Gold Hill Historic Park and Mine Foundation have helped by allowing him to use the park free of charge.
A year ago, motorcyclists traveled from nine states. Motorcycles represented included everything from Hondas to Hendersons, from cruisers to a Cushman scooter.
Also displayed was an old highway patrol motorcycle and an aged Army bike.
Goodman is a member of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. More than 80 bikes that participated in last year’s exhibit in Gold Hill belonged to club members.
Goodman brought one of his collector motorcycles ó a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide ó to the park earlier this week for a photo opportunity promoting Saturday’s rally.
Goodman says motors on the older Harley-Davidsons were designed to leak oil. If a rider returned to his bike and didn’t find a few drops of oil beneath, it was a cause for concern.
“You’d best check your oil because you’re going to be out,” Goodman says, laughing.
He also says the bikes came with chain oilers that made a mess of the rear tires. “The only way to keep one clean was to not ride it,” Goodman says.
He says one of the reasons motorcyclists wore black in the early days was to mask the amount of oil sprayed on them.
Though today’s bikes are sleek performance models that no longer spray oil, the tradition of motorcyclists wearing black has endured.
Goodman says the most highly sought after antique motorcycles are those that haven’t been restored, but remain in solid original shape.
“Antique motorcycles are like antique furniture,” Goodman says, “they’re worth more if they’re unrestored.”
Poole says he hasn’t owned a motorcycle in years, but still enjoys them and was thrilled with the turnout for last year’s exhibit. He says he’s hoping for an even bigger showing this year, with bikers and their rides parked in the shade at the park.
Poole says his son was an avid baseball player, having starred at East Rowan. He was working as an assistant coach at the school at the time of his death.
Tyler was also a student at Surry County Community College and planned to transfer to a four-year college.
Gary says he feels his son would have enjoyed Saturday’s exhibit of antique motorcycles.
“It’s just something we do in Tyler’s memory and hopefully help some kids out,” Poole says.