Seattle Cossacks ride into Soap Lake
The Cossacks’ elaborate stunts saw riders hang off of one another, drive two motorcycles at once and other acrobatic feats. The vintage Harley Davidsons they ride on are all street legal and insured.
IAN BIVONA/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD
The stunts increased in difficulty as the show went on, with riders pushing the limits of what the bikes could handle.
Despite the rain on Sunday, the Seattle Cossacks carried on their show down Main Avenue in Soap Lake. Cossacks members said one of the best parts of their hobby is meeting spectators after an event.
Sports Reporter | July 7, 2022 1:20 AM
SOAP LAKE — Despite the weather taking a turn, the Seattle Cossacks rode down Main Avenue in Soap Lake on Sunday, performing stunts on their motorcycles for the spectators crowding the street to see.
“We’d been here, like, 10 years ago, and couldn’t wait to come back,” retired team captain Andrew Nicholson said. “When it was offered to us, we said, ‘We’re on it.’”
The show began underneath gray skies with the occasional beam of sunlight in Soap Lake but soon turned into a downpour of rain and booms of thunder.
“We don’t care,” Nicholson said of the inclement weather. “We were in the snow, we were in the rain, we’ve performed on gravel, we’ve performed on sand. It doesn’t matter, we’ve been doing this for 84 years.”
The Seattle Cossacks are a motorcycle drill and stunt team that tours in shows across the Pacific Northwest, performing numerous stunts on vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles. Riders will hang off of one another, ride two motorcycles at once, platform themselves on the head of another rider and other tricks.
In some cases, the bikes have been passed on from generation to generation, with some members of the Cossacks being third-generation members. The age of the motorcycles range from 1930 to 1949 and have been kept in show-ready condition.
“Some of these bikes have been passed on for three generations,” Nicholson said. “You can build these bikes, they have parts available to where you can build a brand new bike.”
The motorcycles themselves are looked after by members of the Cossacks, independently owned and maintained. They are all street legal and insured, Nicholson said.
“Harley Davidson made these back in the 30s and 40s,” Nicholson said. “We own and maintain our own bikes, we all have full-time jobs.”
With the streets of Soap Lake full of life from the Suds N’ Sun celebration, attendees gathered around Main Avenue to watch the Cossacks ride. Nicholson, the show announcer, led out calls of, “Are ya having fun yet?” to rally the crowd.
Near the halfway point of the show is when the weather turned, and the skies opened up over Soap Lake. Despite the onslaught of rain, the show carried on with the now-soaked riders upping the ante in their performances.
“We’re from Seattle,” Nicholson cheerfully said during the show, “We’re used to the rain!”
Once the show ended, as did the rain, clearing up with rays of sun entering the sky. The Cossacks lined up the vintage Harleys in the middle of Main Avenue, letting spectators get an up-close view of the performance bikes. Several spectators took photos with their children standing next to the motorcycles.
“Oh, we love this,” Nicholson said of the large crowd of spectators. “Look at how excited the kids are - the most fun part of this show is this. It’s not so much doing the stunts, it’s meeting the people, socializing with them after. You gotta love people to even be a part of this.”
Ian Bivona may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.