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WeSTOC on the Rock: 2013 Western Rally of the ST Owners Club

Scott "Bones" Williams
September 5, 2013
Filed under Latest News, Rider Magazine Blog

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WeSTOC XVIII

Members of the ST Owners Club assemble for a group photo at WeSTOC XVIII (that’s 18 if you’re rusty with Roman numerals). More than 200 members attended this year’s rally in Sooke, British Columbia.

“Go Ride!” is the credo of the ST Owners Club (STOC), and members who ride a Honda ST1100 or ST1300 motorcycle think little of riding hundreds or thousands of miles to attend a rally. WeSTOC—the western rally of the ST Owners Club—is held annually in one of the 11 western states of the continental U.S. or two western provinces of Canada.

WeSTOC has its roots in the days before internet forums, back when organizing ST riders was accomplished via “The liST,” an email list operated by Don Feyma. The liST enabled people to share technical information and routes and farkles. People connecting in this electronic manner found themselves wanting to get together, so they began planning ride events where they could put faces to names.

2013 WeSTOC Logo

The first WeSTOC was held in Park City, Utah in August 1996. A group of 36 people attended and an annual tradition was born. In June 2013, more than 200 people rode nearly 160,000 combined miles, coming from as far as Texas, Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom to arrive at WeSTOC XVIII in Sooke, British Columbia, a seaside location on Vancouver Island (“the Rock”).

WeSTOC remains popular year after year in large part because of the dedication of STOC members who commit to organizing the event. In STOC circles, these members are referred to as Disorganizers. Go ahead and snicker, but being a WeSTOC Disorganizer involves much more than arranging a block of rooms or campsites. For WeSTOC XVIII, Disorganizer Tim Graham of Calgary, Alberta, secured major corporate sponsors, booked a gorgeous waterfront resort at a group rate, arranged vendor seminars and new motorcycle test rides, built several downloadable routes for rides around the Rock, coordinated a final banquet nicer than some wedding receptions I’ve attended, convinced local businesses to donate door prizes, and lots more.

Best Western Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort

Evening fog creeps onto the back patio at the Best Western Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort, a popular spot for catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Tim didn’t seek the spotlight, nor did his wife, Diana, who worked diligently behind the scenes. They didn’t go it alone, either. Disorganizers who successfully host a WeSTOC event are invited to join the Emeritus Council, which assists new Disorganizers with their event and also votes on future site selections. Their combined efforts over the years have elevated WeSTOC to the point where the term “rally” doesn’t do justice to the experience.

In 2013, your humble scribe experienced WeSTOC for the first time. I checked into a hotel fancy as any I’ve been to when arriving on two wheels. In my room was a welcome bag containing a schedule of events, sponsor and vendor discounts, maps and touring information, pre-printed cards for prize drawings, and a name tag which provided admission to meals and seminars and helped members connect names and faces. It was like arriving at a convention.

Victoria Police Department

Victoria PD motor officers surprised rally attendees with a skills demonstration on the back patio. (So it’s legal to ride on the patio?)

At a welcome cook-out, riders queuing up for a burger were surprised when three motor officers from the Victoria Police Department rode onto the patio on newly acquired Victory Cross Country police bikes. Victoria was the first police department in North America to adopt the Honda ST1300 police edition, in 2004. With those bikes finally up for replacement and Honda not currently supporting new sales of police STs, Victoria selected the Victory Cross Country Police Edition. These are BIG motorcycles—10 inches longer than a Smart Car—and the officers tossed them around with impressive skill. They came on their own time to do the demonstration, talk to the assembled riders and take questions. Sargent Glen Shiels grinned as he told us, “Yeah, we get paid to ride motorcycles.”

While many attendees were at their first WeSTOC, Rod Sydenham, a retired large animal veterinarian from Calgary, Alberta, was at his second. Terry Bartlett, a seismic analyst at the University of Washington, was at number 12. John Parker of Grants Pass, Oregon, has been to all 18.

Victory Cross Country Police Edition

“Honour Through Service” – Victory Cross Country Police Edition with Victoria, BC markings.

John Oosterhuis of Bettendorf, Iowa, U.S. Army retired, was at his 11th. “I remember my first WeSTOC in 2001,” Oosterhuis said. “I met seven guys I never knew before and then rode with them to Alaska. Talk about a leap of faith! These are guys I still know well, guys who still come to WeSTOC.”

Carroll Walker of Lake Forest, California, a retired designer of electrical test equipment, rode through all 48 contiguous U.S. states on his way to WeSTOC. “I made the route for someone else about 10 years ago and figured I needed to do it myself,” Walker explained. “I started in Needles, California, and crossed into Nevada, then into Arizona, then up to the four corners where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah come together, then east through Texas and so on. The idea was to do all 48 states as efficiently as I could. I rode all of 100 yards into Florida, then turned right around.”

Jeff Bertrand, a medical device designer from Ventura, California, has been to 15 WeSTOC events. “WeSTOC is kind of the ‘elite’ event for the ST Owners Club,” said Bertrand, “but it’s also one of the best attended events, year after year.”

Bruce Powell of Calgary, Alberta, concurred. “WeSTOC is more of a destination event than the others. Riding is a big part of it, obviously, but this one is really about people getting together.”

It’s become tradition to keep the location of the next WeSTOC under wraps until the closing banquet. Time to start making plans for WeSTOC 2014 in Fortuna, California.

For more information, visit westoc.org.

Victoria Police Department on Victory motorcycles

Victoria cops on Victory motorcycles…that fits.

Victoria PD, STOC member Allan DeVries

Retired police officer and STOC member Allan DeVries (left) of Tomahawk, Alberta, talks with a motor officer from the Victoria PD.

WeSTOC BBQ

All right! When do we eat?

2013 WeSTOC Logo-2

Signs welcomed riders to the 2013 event.

Comments

6 Responses to “WeSTOC on the Rock: 2013 Western Rally of the ST Owners Club”

  1. Allan deVries on September 5th, 2013 3:34 pm

    Great writeup. It was great meeting you at weSTOC bones and we hope to see you in Fortuna!

    [Reply]

  2. Dana teel on September 5th, 2013 3:37 pm

    Excellent write up Scott! I hear from she who must be obeyed, that we will be in attendance at the 2014 WeSTOC; are you planning on making the cross country trip two years in a row? There are some mighty fine roads in them neck of the woods!

    [Reply]

  3. John OoSTerhuis on September 5th, 2013 4:45 pm

    Nice write-up, Bones! It was a pleasure to meet you at Sooke. Thanks for spelling my name correctly, ha! See you next year at Fortuna…?

    BeST,

    John OoSTerhuis STOC 1058
    1991 Honda ST1100
    Bettendorf, Iowa

    [Reply]

  4. John OoSTerhuis on September 5th, 2013 5:04 pm

    PS Be sure to click on the link to the WeSTOC XIX 2014 webpage and view the video! Watch for the special local area inhabitant cameos!

    John OoSTerhuis
    long-time Rider subscriber

    [Reply]

  5. Jeff Bertrand on September 6th, 2013 7:00 pm

    Thanks Scott for brining us up to the big time! It was very good to finally meet you.

    [Reply]

  6. Rich Mease on March 15th, 2014 5:49 pm

    Today I saw a fellow rider spotting a Westoc shirt. I ride a BWM R1100RT live in Oregon and have never heard of westoc before. I may be interested in coming to Tortuna this year and was curious about how may riders usually attend these events?

    [Reply]

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