A man from the Dillsburg-area is the inspiration for Harley-Davidson Pride Month, being celebrated for the first time in August.
Rev. Quay Reiser Jr., who is now retired as pastor for the Oak View Baptist Church, in Hanover, has been collecting Harley-Davidson dealership t-shirts for about 20 years. While he is a die hard Harley-Davidson fan, Reiser has never owned a motorcycle in deference to Melanie, his wife, who didn’t want to see her husband riding a Harley-Davidson or any other model motorcycle. As an alternative, Melanie suggested that her husband buy Harley-Davidson dealership T-shirts.
“For the last several years, I named May as Harley-Davidson Ride & Pride Month and I wore a different Harley T-shirt every day of the month,” said Reiser, who moved to the area in 2000. “I was a stockbroker in the 90s and I bought Harley-Davidson stock because I liked the company. The stock helped us buy our house.”
Reiser, several years ago had written to the motorcycle’s corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about his Harley-Davidson observance, but never received an answer. Earlier this year, he wrote to the promotion department of the York Harley-Davidson plant.
Someone at York forwarded the letter to its corporate headquarters. This time he received a reply from Michael S. Erwin, of the Harley-Davidson marketing department.
“We are endorsing your idea of Harley Pride Month during August and have many activities centered around dealer shirts,” Erwin wrote. “Kind of a scavenger hunt to see how many various shirts will be worn. If you start to collect pins here’s your first one to get that collection going.”
Reiser explained that T-shirts that can be bought online at various dealers are exactly the same. What distinguishes Reiser’s collection of about 35 T-shirts is that they each represent a specific Harley-Davidson dealership in various locations across the country. The T-shirts with the names of the dealerships are not available anywhere, except at that specific dealership.
“So over the years, while we were on vacation, like the time we were in Nashville, Tennessee, the first thing my wife and I would do was to go online and check to see if there was a Harley-Davidson there,” Reiser said. “If there is, we know that we can go there and walk into a dealer and I say’ I want to look at your specific T-shirt’ and I go to their rack that has the dealer’s name on it.”
A shareholder in the Green Bay Packers organization, they went there for a shareholders meeting, Reiser went to two dealerships their and purchased T-shirts bearing the name of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Upon learning of his T-shirt collection, Reiser’s family members and friends began purchasing Harley-Davidson dealership T-shirts for him when they were on vacation.
Judi Reiser, his sister, who lives in Houston, Texas, was excited about it and she went to Texas dealerships. She told a friend about her brother’s collection, and her friend bought Reiser a T-shirt from an Hawaii dealership.
Prices for dealership T-shirts range from $15 to $30. Melanie said the cost of his T-shirt collection may have been enough to buy a Harley motorcycle. Because of the cost, Melanie suggested to her husband: “Let’s try collecting something else.”
“When I was in high school, I played football against Joe Namath,” said Reiser who has been active in sports all of his life. In 1962-1963 he was on Newcastle, R.I., high school football team. “Joe Namath was from Beaver Falls, which is 18 miles from Newcastle.”
A United States Tennis Association certified professional tennis instructor, Reiser, first picked up a tennis racket while in college. He has competed in USTA national adult tennis competitions. He has worked as a tennis instructor for the Northern High School girl’s tennis team, and for the Mechanicsburg Boys Tennis League.
“Most of the T-shirts are from different places in the (continental) United States. I also have one from Alaska,” Reiser said. “Some of the parents of the sons and daughters I give lessons bought T-shirts and gave them to me as gifts.”
His goal is to collect a T-shirt from all 50 states.