A Groovy Gathering

Midwest Women Riders Get Your Groove On event empowers and entertains

By Debi Wilder

What event has plenty of tie-dye and two-wheel fun? The Midwest Women Riders Get Your Groove On event, of course!

The first time I attended the Midwest Women Riders Get Your Groove On (GYGO) moto event in 2021 in Woodstock, Ill., I felt as though I stepped back in time to the ’70s, with women dressed in every conceivable variation of tie-dye, fringe, headbands, and dangly hoop earrings, along with an assortment of leather jackets.

GYGO — a three-day event sanctioned by the AMA-chartered Midwest Women Riders — brought together approximately 600 female riders from all over the country to enjoy a weekend of sisterhood, mentorship, workshops and getting their groove on.

“Gather 600 women together on motorcycles and you get something incredibly powerful,” attendee Bridget Krupka said. “Everyone comes from different walks of life, with different ideas and experiences. That’s what makes this event unique!”

Promoting community, friendship and empowerment, 2023 GYGO offered workshops, guided rides and hosted inspirational female figures — including AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Gloria Struck and Cris Simmons.

GYGO celebrates women who ride while raising significant funds for local charities. Dream Riders and the Crystal Lake Food Pantry were two charities receiving cash donations in 2023.

Ellie Rains is the creative captain behind GYGO and the founder of Midwest Women Riders, a grassroots community created in 2008 to support the emerging growth of women riding their own motorcycles.

“Back in the day women had to prove themselves to ride a motorcycle, but not anymore!” attendee Jeanette Russel said. “It’s always such a beautiful sight to see women riding their own long distance, short distance, with a group, and solo. GYGO is an amazing accomplishment of supporting one another, learning from each other, helping each other conquer fears and at the end, we can all say, ‘I did the damn thing!’”

At GYGO, we are seemingly transported back in time to an era when peace and love ruled, yet in this universe, women are venturing out to embrace the world of all things motorcycles. GYGO is a vibration issued forth from 600 fabulously fierce, adventuresome women who gather for one spiritual weekend in May and leave knowing their lives have changed significantly.

The 2024 event runs May 2-4, 2024, and details can be found by visiting midwestwomenriders.com.