A Man of LOVEFri, 24 Oct 2008
I had a unique opportunity this week to sit down with Oliver Shokouh, the founder of the Love Ride, only days before the 25th anniversary of the purportedly largest one-day rally in the world, kicks-off this coming Sunday, October 26. First and foremost I’m very grateful for Oliver to set aside over half an hour of his precious time so close to the event. Not only does he head-up this massive event, he’s also busy running the very busy and successful Harley-Davidson/Buell of Glendale (California).
I contemplated just how busy Shokouh must be, thinking that he must be a humble figure to take the interview. Certainly he’s not so in need of exposure for the Love Ride that spending time with little ol’ me was crucial to the charity event’s continued success. What I came to realize is that he is quite humble, and no doubt it’s his care and compassion for the primary charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, that has made the Love Ride what is today.
I was curious as to how the ride got its name. His answer, as you might have guessed, was that though putting on the event is tremendous work, “it’s a labor of love.” He couldn’t help but be compelled to help those in need after he became more and more involved.
“After you see what those that suffer from MD go through, and the struggles the families go through, and what these children are about and how they cope with their ultimate fate, and how much courage they, I just really got attracted to that.” He went on to say how as the years passed he became closer to a number of children that suffer from MD, and in his own words, “adopted them as my own kids.”
Further citing Oliver’s humility, he was eager to share a spreadsheet with me that he keeps on his personal computer that tracks various details of each Love Ride, starting with the first in 1984. The most important entry on that spreadsheet is the money that the L.R. takes in each year. Starting in 1993 with L.R. 10, the event finally crested the million dollar mark, and has done so for most the years following, donating over 22 million to the MDA and a number of other charities.
If you’re in SoCal this weekend, and you’re on a bike, or even if you’re not, try to make it out to participate in the silver anniversary of the Love Ride. We’ll be there for sure. It may require some effort to carve out the time to do it, but you’re sure to Love it!
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By Pete Brissette