In 1976-77 Philadelphians M.C. held their first run over the New Year’s weekend. After a long year of Bicentennial celebrations in Philadelphia, the club chose to mark the beginning of the nation’s third century by naming the run TRI-CEN. This first run was held at the Holiday Inn on Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia, and was the first “hotel run” of its kind, where the run fee of $60.00 paid for registration, food, and hotel.
The first Tri-Cen was chaired by club member Ron Lord, who later went on to open the club’s current home bar, the Bike Stop (where his motorcycle still hangs from the ceiling on the first floor, in his memory). Tri-Cen soon became a sporadically annual tradition, generally being held over the New Year’s Day weekend (as long as January 1st wasn’t in the middle of the week).
There have been 19 Tri-Cen runs in total, with the last Tri-Cen to date–the Philly-sports-themed “Tri-Cen XIX: The 19th Huddle”–being held over New Year’s 2010.
Tri-Cen XX was originally planned for New Year’s 2011 (with the now-infamous theme “Animals Animals Animals”). However, due to the lingering effects of the “Great Recession” and a dwindling of interest in leather clubs and activities, not enough attendees signed up to make the run viable, so the event was cancelled. Not long after, the club’s membership numbers also took a downturn, and future events were put on indefinite hold.
A brief renaissance occurred around 2015 with the return of the Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest, and within a few years, the club’s numbers had grown enough to try again. So in 2019, Tri-Cen was brought out of mothballs, trimmed up a little, and moved to October to coincide with the Philadelphians MC anniversary dinner. “Tri-Cen XX: resErection” (a holy…er…wholly irreverent and abominable “Sexy Jesus”-based theme) was booked and set to begin on October 23rd, 2020, and our spirits were high as we headed into the new year…
…and…well…we all know what happened then.
Two years later, after a thorough beat-down by the COVID-19 pandemic, we found ourselves once again plagued by diminished numbers, fading interest, and a difficult economy. Shook to the core, many of us found ourselves wondering if there would be a future for the world, let alone the club or Tri-Cen.
Around June of 2022, as the ashes finally began to settle, we once again saw an amazing resurgence in the leather community, with the return of the usual events and contests bringing record attendance, and other clubs beginning to revive their own runs and other activities. And as we realized our 50th anniversary was fast approaching, we knew we had an opportunity in front of us that we might never have again:
To bring back our beloved Tri-Cen in its original form, and bring it back BIG…
…so stay tuned–the story continues on December 29th, 2023!