WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The annual Nation of Patriots Tour is coming to Williams on July 18 and 19 for the National Passing the Flag Event.
The riders are raising awareness and seeking donations to assist veterans in need. The tour passes through 48 states and draws in hundreds of motorcyclists. The riders carry the flag across the country for 100 days, passing it off between states.
"We're hoping to have 100 riders this year," said Rick Bitzer of Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson.
"Our participants include riders from the American Legion, HOG Groups Elk Clubs, firemen and combat vets. We have a large cross-section, anyone can join. We just ask for riders to donate $5," Bitzer said.
Northern Arizona riders will meet the escort from New Mexico at Meteor Crater Road and I-40 and then continue to the Bellemont Grand Canyon Harley Davidson for the Flag Changing Ceremony and barbecue. The group will continue into Williams to stay at the Best Western.
"Because of the great hospitality Williams has shown, NOP founder Bill Scherer is going to be out here this year," Bitzer said.
The American Legion is sponsoring a breakfast on July 19 and a memorial service will follow at 9 a.m at Williams Memorial Park. A Flag Parade through downtown Williams will begin after the memorial. The parade will end on the west side of Williams and the flag will be carried to the Nevada State Line for a Flag Ceremony. Riders are invited to accompany Nevada riders into Las Vegas for their festivities.
The Nation of Patriots is an independent, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide financial assistance to the families of wounded men and women who have volunteered their lives to the U.S. Armed Forces. Each rider who participates is asked to donate $5, which will go toward Arizona veterans.
"The donations to NPO go directly to the veterans," Bitzer said. "There are no administrative fees. It is completely run by volunteers and depends on support from companies and corporations like ours."