West Coast Thunder (WCT) first originated in May of 2000. Founded by Pat Delahunty, Steve Cifelli, Steve Aragon, George Helton, Lucky & Theresa Delaney, Rich Greenberg, and D. J. Quinn. Delahunty first thought of the idea in May of 1999 while watching the documentary “Letters from the Trenches”. The following day, he called some of his fellow Inland Empire H.O.G.® chapter members, and they organized a small ride to the Riverside National Cemetery (RNC) to participate in their annual remembrance ceremony. After the ceremony, they decided to make the ride a tradition. Delahunty reached out to his friend, Don Odell, and the two continue to sit on the Advisory Board of West Coast Thunder and play an integral role in the development of West Coast Thunder each year.
With the financial support from the Harley-Davidson dealership in Riverside, California, the tradition grew in stride, doubling attendance each year. To this date, West Coast Thunder and donated in excess of $600,000 to the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee. These donations help build monuments and provide ancillary support resources for the Riverside National Cemetery.
Each Year upwards of 7,500 motorcyclists pack the street of Indiana Avenue in Riverside, California to observe and participate in the tradition of West Coast Thunder.
In 2009, West Coast Thunder celebrated its 10th anniversary with its annual parade to the Riverside National Cemetery. Afterwards, participants rode to Historic Downtown Riverside, where festivities included food and product vendors, motorcycle demonstrations, a concert, and the Ultimate Sacrifice presentation by the Inland Empire H.O.G.® Chapter’s Color Guard. In 2010, the event became too large to stay within the Riverside city limits when K&N Filters presented West Coast Thunder. Country Music artist James Otto and Danny Gokey performed for registered participants and concert ticket holders at Soboba Casino’s outdoor arena in San Jacinto, California. In 2011, Stater Bros. Markets presented West Coast Thunder XII, featuring The Marshall Tucker Band. Subsequent concert sponsors and headliners included Aaron Lewis of Staind and Stater Bros. and 5-hour Energy presented Uncle Kracker. In 2013, WCT XIV Stater Bros./5-hour Energy/ Lucas Oil and MAVTV featured Black River entertainment artist and U.S. Army Veteran, Craig Morgan and back by popular demand, Elektra/All In recording artist, The Farm! Last Years event and our 15th Anniversary, Stater Bros. and 5-hour Energy presented Curb Recording Artist, Rodney Atkins. 2015 brings us our 16th year and we were proud to host country music stars Big & Rich once again at Soboba Casino’s outdoor arena.
Proceeds will benefit the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee via the West Coast Thunder [a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation]. West Coast Thunder continues to be the major contributor of funds to the Riverside National Cemetery. Completed projects include construction of the National POW / MIA Memorial (dedicated in 2005), repairs to the Medal of Honor Memorial, financial support to the RNC Memorial Honor Detail, and funding each July of the Concert for Heroes.
These financial gifts have funded cemetery projects to include the purchasing of flower cones and assist in the monthly burials of our indigent and unaccompanied, homeless Veterans by the placing of a bouquet of flowers and an American flag on their final resting place. For more information about the third largest National Cemetery in the United States, which averages over 31 burials per day, and is a proud, volunteered-based , please visit www.rncsc.org.