VFW Members Join Cross-Country Motorcycle Ride

A worldwide motorcycle club hosts a coast-to-coast ride each year to honor the sacrifices of those who served their country during WWI

Since its inception in 1998, the Victory Motorcycle Club has paid tribute to the troops who fought during World War I by flocking on a pilgrimage along U.S. Highway 40.

Each July, the Victory riders, comprised of veterans and civilians who share a love of Victory motorcycles and military history, roar down the 2,010-mile transcontinental highway dedicated to American forces who fought during WWI.

Members of the Victory Motorcycle Club gather during one of the many stops along their cross-country, V2V Relay ride
Members of the Victory Motorcycle Club gather during one of the many stops along their cross-country, V2V Relay ride on July 1, 2022, in Springville, Utah. The ride began on June 22 in Staten Island, New York, and ended on July 4 in San Francisco.
“We must make sure we never forget the sacrifices they made,” said Bill Kreighbaum, a South-Central regional representative of the Victory Motorcycle Club in Kansas City, Missouri. “For the past 22 years, the Victory Motorcycle Club has paid tribute to those who fought in WWI and the sacrifices they made to help end a horrible period in history.”

The 22nd Annual V2V Relay last year began on June 22 in Staten Island, New York, and ended in San Francisco on July 4, welcoming more than 100 riders from across the world. The direction is reversed every year.

The journey is comprised of 13 legs, with scheduled rest stops and designated city and hotel locations. Each leg captain is appointed to ensure strict safety rules, and each morning the baton gets passed to the next leg captain. 

“We make sure to coordinate the various stops along the way to pay tribute to the monuments erected with the names of service members from that particular area we are in,” Kreighbaum said. “This also allows some riders to ride the whole length, or allow others to ride legs that suit their specific schedules.”

Among the hordes of Victory riders that trekked across the “Victory Highway” last year, several were VFW members from across the country.

For Rick Gunder, a Life member of VFW Post 10227 in Prescott Valley, Arizona, the V2V, coast-to-coast ride is an annual family reunion of sorts, presenting pleasant conversations with like-minded individuals and memories — lots of memories.

“Like every year, there are challenges that crop up,” said Gunder, a Vietnam War veteran who co-chartered the Prescott Valley Victory Motorcycle Club chapter in 2009. “But we always find a way to see the funny side of it and have a great time in spite of any problems.”

Part of the appeal for Gunder, aside from the joy of riding on his beloved Victory motorcycle, comes from the camaraderie built along the journey every year.

“Truly a fun group, and as pleasant and knowledgeable a bunch of folks you’ll ever come across,” Gunder said. “Although our club is considerably smaller [than some others], we still get out there and ride to show off what we firmly believe is the finest motorcycle ever made.”

Sharing Gunder’s sentiments, Kreighbaum believes more veterans could benefit from learning about the Victory Motorcycle Club, especially those who already ride Victory motorcycles.

“The V2V is special to all of us, and we just want all VFW members to be aware of our support,” Kreighbaum said. “We also want to raise awareness about the club among VFW members riding Victory motorcycles. We’re a worldwide club, and a very fun one.”

The 23rd Annual V2V Relay ride is slated to begin in San Francisco this year. For more information on how to join the Victory Motorcycle Club, visit www.thevmc.com.

This article is featured in the 2023 May issue of VFW magazine, and was written by Ismael Rodriguez Jr., senior writer for VFW magazine.