A look at who attended this year’s Wharf Rat Rally

Published on September 3, 2017

Kevin Bean’re and Timo Richard sit together atop their bikes at the Digby Wharf.

©Sara Ericsson

DIGBY, NS – Thousands of people rally every year at the Wharf Rat Rally, the biggest such event in Atlantic Canada, and this year was no different.

People from all over brought their bikes into town for the occasion.

Among those enjoying the rally was Destiny Kemmis and her father, Clint, both from Digby.

A rally was organized by Bikers Down in 2012 in Nova Scotia to help raise money to cover medical costs for Destiny, who suffers from a serious heart condition.


Destiny in Digby

Destiny is now nine, and looks forward to seeing her biker buds return each year at the Wharf Rat Rally.

“This rally is like her Christmas – it’s the thing she looks forward to the most every year,” said Clint.

Destiny ran around the cenotaph, throwing hugs at various people.

“Hello little darlin’!” said Dave (last name omitted), as he caught her in a bear hug.

“Wharf Rat has become a family event for us,” said Clint.

Destiny’s Ride now rallies for other similar causes, continuing to rally to raise money for children across Nova Scotia.

“It’s so nice, especially since they don’t have to do that. They just do it anyway,” said Clint.


Taking in the sights

Many people enjoy watching motorcycles roll in even more than the events organized for the rally.

Some such people are Daniel Girard, Gerard Gervais, Marcel Louwet, Jean Louwet and Art O’Brien, all visiting the rally from Fredericton, N.B.

Ginger Penton-Leith with a new friend she met at Digby Backpackers’ Inn in Digby, where she stayed during the rally. “I came on a whim and am so glad I made that decision,” she said.

Photos by Sara Ericsson

Daniel Girard, Gerard Gervais, Marcel Louwet, Jean Louwet and Art O’Brien, all visiting the rally from Fredericton, N.B.

Photos by Sara Ericsson

Many veterans attended this year’s rally, included Girard and Gervais.

Photos by Sara Ericsson

Destiny Kemmis hugs a friend who rode in the 2012 rally to raise funds to help with her medical costs.

Photos by Sara Ericsson

Kevin Bean’re and Timo Richard laugh as they joke about being friends, getting old but feeling young.

Photos by Sara Ericsson

Anselm LeBlanc from Weymouth watching the bikes roll in on Water St Thursday night.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Roland and Delma LeBlanc are geared up for the Wharf Rat Rally.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Lucas Manzer from Digby enjoys his first Wharf Rat Rally.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Little Rich Amirault formerly of Weymouth now in Alberta is home to take in the Rally.

Photos by Karla Kelly

The staff in the Tim Hortons van serving up free coffee to the crowds downtown Digby on Saturday.

Photos by Karla Kelly

A big thumbs up from Diane Axent, who officiated the wedding ceremony for John Leight and Keri Ann Snow Sept. 2 at the rally, as she makes her own getaway after the ceremony.

Photos by Karla Kelly

A water sport entertainer pumps himself up to high five the crowd after the show.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Stacey Doucette of Ashmore is a happy biker as he rides through Digby Friday afternoon.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Mike and Michelle Vrensen of Salisbury, New Brunswick are regulars at the Wharf Rat Rally.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Russell Burgess from Windsor is back at the Rally on a new motorcycle this year after a bike accident broke his leg and wrote off his bike three years ago.

Photos by Karla Kelly

Each of them have seen at least two rallies, and spoke of how much they enjoy seeing the bikes burst by year after year.

“The colours, the models, the people – it’s all different every year,” said Gervais.

“This is definitely one of the highlights for us.”

Newfoundlander Ginger Penton-Leith travelled to Digby from Oshawa, ON, where she lives now, deciding to come on a whim.

“I was able to book a room at the Digby Backpackers’ Inn and even made some instant friends,” she said.

“I’m so glad I did that.”

Decked out in pink riding gear, a pink hat, pink hair and pink sunglasses, Penton-Leith is an example for female bikers everywhere.

“Everyone knows my bike when they see it – it’s covered in these colours too,” she said.


Bringing bikers together

Kevin Bean’re has been a rally regular since it first began in 2004.

He met good friend Timo Richard, aka Mad Squirrel, nearly ten years ago, and the two have been lasting friends since.

Both caught a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons’ Sept. 1 before heading down to the Digby Wharf to take in the sights.

“This place is like a second home to me,” said Bean’re.

“The friends you make here are lasting. There’s something about all of us being adrenaline junkies, loving the ride, and bonding over that.”

Bean’re led multiple rallies to assisted living facilities this year as part of his Share the Wind project, which focuses on bringing motorcycles to those who can’t ride themselves.

“The feeling of freedom riding gives you is something everyone should experience in their lifetime,” he said.

He and Richard spoke about why they do what they do, and why they’re so passionate about bikes.

“It’s something you do because you love it. There aren’t many things that double the feeling of hitting the road on a bike,” said Richard.