Arlington, Marysville bikers renew wedding vows at Sound Harley

SMOKEY POINT — The vows they recited were solemn yet punctuated by humor, and the attendees’ attire was hardly formal, but their well-worn leather jackets and blue jeans reflected the 35 married couples’ shared experiences on the road perhaps more than any suits or dresses could.

Feb. 12 marked the first free biker wedding vow renewal ceremony in the history of Sound Harley-Davidson in Smokey Point, and the Rev. Rose Bradshaw, a Puget Sound H.O.G. Chapter Member and ordained minister, wrote up a revised set of vows just for the occasion.

“We are here today to renew our vows to the ones we cherish above all others, our bikes,” Bradshaw said, drawing laughter from the crowd before she added, “I mean, our spouses.”

A multitude of Marysville and Arlington couples took part in the ceremony, pledging their continuing commitment as much to their ongoing travels as to one another, not as “husbands” and “wives,” but as “biker dudes” and “biker chicks.”

Caroline and Michael Compise, of Marysville, have ridden together for three of the 28 years they’ve been married.

“When you experience so much of the world and your lives together, there are so many things that no one else will understand, besides your wonderful wife,” Michael said, after handing Caroline another ring during their vows.

Fellow Marysville residents Yvonne and Sam Palombo were perhaps among the more formally attired spouses in attendance, both decked out in white shirts, with Yvonne also wearing a wedding veil and holding a white corsage. She and Sam have been married for 57 years and began riding together in 1998.

“It’s been such a blast,” Yvonne said. “I’d never seen so much of the country before.”

“And the people that we’ve met have been so nice,” Sam added.

The Palombos had already renewed their wedding vows once, during their 50th anniversary, but they still appeared giddy to be exchanging vows and kisses a few years later.

“The Lord’s kept a lot of the spark in our marriage,” Yvonne said.

“It helps that we’ve made a great family together,” Sam said. “The key is trusting each other.”

Vince and Caren Nigro, of Arlington, echoed the Palombos’ appreciation for how much of America they’ve experienced through their bikes. The two are high school sweethearts who have been riding together almost all of the 41 years they’ve been married, and they still feel newlyweds’ passion for each other.

“He’s worn in well,” Caren laughed. “Seriously, though, he’s amazing.

“We’re looking forward to our next 40 years together,” Vince said.

Fellow Arlington residents Keith and Lori Medley are newlyweds by comparison, having only traded their original vows 22 years ago, but they’ve been riding together almost as long as the Palombos, for the past nine years.

“It finally came down to having enough money and time to do it right,” Keith said. “In both marriage and riding, adventure is the spice of life.”

Lori waxed rhapsodic about feeling the wind through her hair on the open road, while Keith cherishes those moments when he can feel at one with the surrounding nature.

“Whenever you turn a corner, you never know what you’ll find,” Lori said.

“I love that, no matter how long or far you travel, there’s always another road,” Keith said. “We’re glad to be on it together.”

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