WildHorse Harley-Davidson of Bend is rolling into 2014 with a mighty roar, with strong sales and epic interest in its classic line of American-made iron horses built to tempt and to tame.
Family owned since 2011, general managers and owners Brandon Nash and his father William Nash, opened the dealership in March of 2011 with their friend and partner, Ron Peterson. They acquired the business from former owner, Frank Costa, who ran the popular dealership since 2006 under the name Cascade Harley-Davidson.
“We carry Harley-Davidson as our main and only featured line of motorcycles,” said Brandon. “Harley-Davidson owns over fifty percent market share of the street or on-road motorcycle industry and it’s satisfying being a part of their legacy and history.”
Nash and his staff are major contributors to the community with fun rides, events and fundraisers going on all year long.
“We have our third annual birthday bash coming up March 1 and another of our big featured events this year is our Harley Owners Group (HOG) gathering, where we’ll be inviting Harley owners’ group chapters from all over the Pacific Northwest for an Independence Ride on July 4-6.”
Harley-Davidson Motorcycles was founded in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has exploded into a global brand and lifestyle sensation embraced by all ages, ethnicities and genders.
WildHorse currently has over 75 gleaming machines in stock, from the prestigious, top-of-the-line Street Glide model, all the way down to the sleek entry level Sportster cycles. They’re a full-service dealership encompassing all aspects of sales, service, parts and a complete assortment of cool motor clothes for enjoyable rides both long and short. Their employee count swells to nearly 25 during the peak summer season and cuts back to under 10 off-season when most bikes are hibernating for the winter.
“Central Oregon loves motorcycles and part of it is the scenic roads and routes you can take that are phenomenal, from Cascade Lakes Highway over to Sunriver and across to Sisters, anywhere you ride to there’s something beautiful to see. You can take an amazing ride and stretch your legs and still be close to home and all the comforts and amenities. Another ride people love is the loop to Crater Lake. You’ll see people blasting down the road past Chemault to the turnoff and heading west to Crater Lake. People from all over the world do that ride. It’s the same type of awesome ride like doing the Grand Canyon run. There’s a deep, established motorcycle culture in the region going back decades and it’s great for us to be right in the heart of that action.”
For Nash and his family, they’re pleased with the continued strength in sales and steady business but optimism is measured.
“Because of the economy, I’d say we haven’t exactly seen growth, it’s more of a bounceback. It’s not that people ever stopped liking motorcycles, it’s more that they’re now being able to afford the luxury and lifestyle of owning one again.”
To most customers Harley-Davidson represents pure freedom.
“They represent it, they market it and they succeed at it. It’s just you and two wheels and there’s wind in your face and you have total control of the road and it’s just a sensation of total freedom.”
Two other main events WildHorse hosts as a community outreach are their annual Easter egg hunt in April and Halloween party.
“Last year we put out over 1400 eggs all through the dealership campus here at WildHorse,” Brandon explained. “We have an Easter bunny and a bouncy house set up so that’s a fun thing for the kids. In October we do “Trunk or Treat” which is basically all the parents and families showing up to decorate their trunks for Halloween and all the kids trick or treat around the parking lot.”
Their most important function they put on at the end of the year, the second Saturday of December, is the WildHorse Toy Run.
“We turn the whole parking lot into a Christmas tree lot and we have big tree on the showroom floor and everyone brings in gifts to build what we call the Tree of Hope for those less fortunate. They’re all the best trees, Nobles and Fraziers and all the money goes back into the community. Last year we gave away food boxes for over 210 families and we also provided Christmas presents for those families too.”
For Nash and his staff, it’s business as usual, servicing bikes and ordering parts and keeping up with Harley owner’s requests.
“We do test rides and dealership rides for customers who already have bikes. The first and third Wednesdays starting in May through August we have Dinner Rides which are fun get-togethers at various locations. We usually have some nice cruiser route to a restaurant and we have all dinner and everybody goes home.”
Of all the rewards of owning and running a major Harley-Davidson dealership in Bend, Nash’s greatest satisfaction comes directly from his customers.
“What I enjoy most about it are the people,” Brandon said. “I have customers come in here and for all of their lives they have wanted to own a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and finally the day comes where they can, and I help them reach the pinnacle of their dreams. To share in that experience is something really special.“
WildHorse Harley-Davidson 63028 Sherman Rd., Bend www.wildhorsehd.com 541-330-6228.