Fulfilling a fantasy at 92

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

To hang on to some nice young man around the middle and just go on the back of a big Harley was Ireta Musgrave's birthday wish at 92 years young. Local members of ABATE, Alaska Bikers Advocating Training & Education, made Ireta's wish come true last week. Club President Craig Rowell and member Art Waters heard of Ireta's long time desire and enlisted Mike Seaman and his Harley to do the honors. Musgrave was born in Lovell Wyoming and has been coming to Alaska since 1954. Her daughter Joan Hansen and her 4 sons Dan, Doug, Dallas and Derek all live on the Kenai Peninsula along with 7 great grand kids. All together, Ireta has 12 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and 3 great great grand kids, according to Hansen.

It was a perfect sunny summer day last Saturday for Ireta's 92nd birthday at Beaver Creek Park in Kenai. The ABATE bikers got Ireta all dressed in leather jacket and helmet and helped her up on Mike's Harley. "I'm not an invalid you know," Ireta told the guys who were a little too eager to give her a helping hand getting up. "Atta girl, Gramma!" cheered her grandkids as Ireta settled into the rider's saddle of the big Harley. When asked how it felt being on a motorcycle for the first time Ireta said, "Feels a little tipsy, let's get it on the road." So with engines rumbling the ABATE bikers rode off with Ireta into the sunshine as her family cheered her on. "We all had a ball, and I didn't even get into trouble with my brothers. It was a memory in a million for my mom, and all of us will remember her for her ability to be a good sport in spite of being scared to death when all those bikers rode up to the park," said Joan Hansen.

"It was just marvelous, I enjoyed it so much. Every time I see one now I'll be able to say I've been there, done that. It didn't scare me a bit, and I wondered about that, but it didn't. I've always heard that these bikers were bad people, but they aren't they're just the nicest people you'd want to meet," said Musgrave after returning safely from her cruise around the twin cities. Musgrave remembers the first time she saw a car but not a motorcycle. "We had a horse and wagon, we weren't rich enough to have a buggy in Wyoming, and I guess I was about 12 when we got the first automobile," remembered Musgrave. Ireta added that she intends to keep coming back to the Peninsula for her birthdays to visit all her family.

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