Motorcycle enthusiasts from the Midwest and throughout the nation arrived in near-record numbers to attend the 2008 Honda HomeComingSM as many guests rode hundreds and even thousands of miles to tour the plant and participate in three days of activities.
Held Thursday through Saturday, the Marysville Motorcycle Plant tour was the most popular HomeComing attraction again this year, where Honda associates guided 4,210 guests Thursday and Friday to see Gold Wing 1800 and VTX 1300 motorcycles in production. Another 2,235 guests took self-guided plant tours on Saturday, resulting in 6,445 visitors touring the plant during the event, compared with 4,900 guests last year.
The plant tours and meeting the associates who manufacture their bikes have always been the main attractions at HomeComing, said Motorcycle Plant Manager Jan Gansheimer. “Everywhere you go during the event, you can see the strong connection between our guests and our motorcycle associates who have a passion for riding,” she said. “Over 19 years, HomeComing has been a great way to share experiences with our customers and let them see our manufacturing capabilities.”
Motorcycle light parades set records both nights, in Bellefontaine on Thursday with 751 riders, and on Friday night when 1,072 bikes lit up the streets in uptown Marysville.
More than 250 riders participating in the annual Ride For Kids event raised $136,159 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Held Saturday morning in conjunction with HomeComing, the money goes into research to fight the No. 1 killer of children among cancer diseases. The total includes more than $33,000 raised by Honda associates and matched by the company at 50 cents on the dollar, resulting in a total contribution of nearly $49,700 from the associates and the company.
Honda of America Mfg., Inc. will continue sponsoring the Ride For Kids event in central Ohio next year.
During the closing ceremony Saturday, Jerry Newland of Marion, Ohio was the lucky winner of a 2008 custom Gold Wing 1800 touring motorcycle. A dispatcher with the Richwood Police Department in Union County, Newland has attended the Honda HomeComing since 1997.
The 2008 HomeComing will be the last at the Marysville Motorcycle Plant, which will end manufacturing operations in June 2009 as Honda consolidates production of larger motorcycles at a new manufacturing facility in Kumamoto, Japan. With the capacity to produce 600,000 units per year, the new plant will serve as Honda’s global leader with advanced motorcycle production technologies. Associates at the motorcycle plant will remain key members of the team at Honda of America producing passenger cars, light trucks, engines and major components in Ohio.