Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 110th anniversary with one unexpected fan – Pope Benedict XVI. The pope was on hand to begin the countdown to the bike maker’s Italian event, which will kick off on June 13, 2013.
As part of Harley-Davidson’s celebrations, tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to descend on Rome for a four-day festival, which will honor the brand, its fans and its commitment to motorcycle apparel and .
“We’re anticipating next year’s celebration in Rome to be one of the largest events we’ve ever held outside the U.S.,” said Ken Ostermann, general manager of international marketing at Harley-Davidson. “That is a strong testament to our continued global transformation as we respond to our growing fan base all over the world.”
In order to start gearing up for this event, Harley-Davidson presented the pope with two commemorative gas tanks, which were then blessed and signed by the holy leader. One of the tanks will be on display at the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee, while the other will be auctioned off with a bike in support of the Good Samaritan Foundation.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more bikes – and their riders – will have the opportunity to be blessed as part of the anniversary festivities in June.