About Us

Rolling Thunder began as a demonstration following the end of the Vietnam War.

motorcycle run in dc

That was a difficult time in our history. Many of America’s military were killed or missing in action (MIA) and their remains were not being returned home or respectfully buried. There were also reports of live prisoners of war (POW) who were abandoned and left behind when the war ended.

In 1987, Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo (CPL, USMC), bothered and driven by these accounts, came to DC with his idea and met and enlisted the help of fellow veterans to organize a motorcycle demonstration to bring attention to the POW/MIA situation.

Choosing Memorial Day weekend for the event, they envisioned the arrival of the motorcycles coming across the Memorial Bridge, and thought it would sound like “Rolling Thunder”. The first Run in 1988, had roughly 2500 motorcycles and riders demanding that the U.S. government account for all POW/MIA’s.

It continues to grow every year, becoming the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event. At its height there have been over a million riders and spectators combined,and it has evolved into an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.

Board of Directors

rolling thunder Walt

Walt Sides
Executive Director
Founding Member
USMC Vietnam Veteran

rolling thunder Laura

Laura Sides
Chairman of the Board

RT board member

Rob Wilkins
USAF Veteran


Bernie Richardson
Vice President
US Army Veteran


Hal Koster
US Army Vietnam Veteran


Paul Hustler
Director Chief of Security
US Army Veteran


Travis Haymore
Director Veteran Outreach & Resources
USAF Veteran