Residents of Paris, Texas, probably didn’t get much sleep on the morning of Saturday, October 5, 2019, as almost 3,500 Harley-Davidson motorcycles descended on the local airport to shatter a world record.
The gathering was organized by Paris Harley-Davidson and saw the parade of American iron reclaim a record previously held by Patras, in Greece. That record, a middling 2,404, was comprehensively smashed by this group who came from 35 states, and even as far away as Canada to take part.
The menagerie of chrome, studded saddlebags, and black leather was led around the Cox Field airport in organized rows, paced by a World War 2 fighter plane up front. A Guinness Book of World Records Adjudicator was on hand to count and verify the bikes, with a total of 3,497 making the record official.
Over $50,000 in registration proceeds were donated to Motorcycle Missions, a non-profit that helps military veterans and first responders dealing with PTSD. The group was founded by Krystal Hess and uses motorcycle build projects as a platform to support and rehabilitate veterans and first responders who are recovering from trauma.
Most Harley-Davidsons are a little over 96 inches—about eight feet—long. Multiply that by 3,497 and you get a parade with tassels streaming back at least 3 miles. If you said each HD in the parade was worth $10,000 (and most were worth considerably more judging by the video) than that’s over $30 Million worth of Milwaukee metal. Many of the bikes were two-up, and by the time the organizers, vendors, emergency services and spectators were thrown in, around 10,000 people were on hand to watch the spectacle.
You don’t have to love Harley-Davidsons to appreciate this one. The sheer organizational effort that goes into a rally of this size is immense and shows that most of us will take any excuse to join up with other bikers for a ride. There’s no word from Paris Harley-Davidson if they’ll attempt to extend the record in 2020. For now, they can rest easy knowing they successfully bought the record back home to the USA.