BREAKING: Rolling Thunder announces May 2019 ride will be its last

Elizabeth Howe
December 13, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Photo courtesy of Petty Officer 3rd Class Julio

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It's the end of a patriotic tradition in Washington, D.C.

The Rolling Thunder ride, an iconic annual military support display put on by thousands of bikers in the D.C. area, will come to an end after the May 2019 ride according to Washington DC news outlets WTOP and NBC4.

Costs have increased dramatically, said Rolling Thunder, Inc., the group that has been organizing the ride for over 30 years. Last year, the ride cost $200,000. While the group is open to continuing the tradition with significant financial support, they aren't able to otherwise. 

On top of cost concerns, the group also explained that they've had ongoing communication issues with the Pentagon Police Department. 

“We had so many problems in the last two or three years with the [Pentagon Police> and the parking facilities after we leave the Pentagon parking lot,” Rolling Thunder, Inc. board member Gus Dante told WTOP.

After next year's ride, Pete Zaleski, vice president of Rolling Thunder, Inc., told NBC4 that the group will hold smaller state or regional demonstrations instead of the current national display. It will mitigate cost issues — and also serve as a reminder of why the group puts on the ride in the first place. 

"It's a demonstration ride, not a parade," Zaleski told NBC4. "We've kind of lost the reason why we're there."

But AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly says don't cancel your reservations for 2020.