Fans of the annual Hero Thrill Show can catch a glimpse of greatness during a dress rehearsal pep rally in Center City on Aug. 30.
Starting at noon, the elite world-famous Philadelphia Highway Patrol Motorcycle Drill Team will make a roaring grand entrance at 19th and Market streets in a sneak preview of mesmerizing daredevil stunts that will be performed at the 68th edition of the Hero Thrill Show on Sept. 9 in the Wells Fargo Center parking lot in South Philly.
The pep rally will once again be hosted by Jimmy Binns, president and CEO of the Hero Thrill Show.
The mini show warm-up on Market Street, as well as the big event at the Wells Fargo Center, will honor first responders for their service to the local community.
“We sincerely appreciate the stellar service day in and day out of our local police officers and firefighters departments who fearlessly answer the call to duty,” Binns said. “That’s why when the tables are turned, the Hero Thrill Show is firmly committed to supporting our police and fire communities and their families in their time of need.”
Residents, as well as those taking a lunchtime break in Center City, will be treated to a program of City of Philadelphia high-ranking officials from law enforcement and firefighting communities, as well as radio personality “Mr. Saturday Night,” Bob Pantano, and longtime boxing ring announcer-actor Nino DelBuono, who will be part of the event’s pre-programming.
Philadelphia Fire Department engines will be on hand with a 40-foot ladder providing the backdrop with a large American flag.
Representatives and various other units from the Philadelphia fire and police departments including the Firefighters and Paramedics Local 22 Union, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, SWAT, the Mounted Police Unit, Police Marine Unit and the K-9 unit also are scheduled.
Binns, the pep rally emcee and licensed professional motorcycle drill instructor, will be the narrator, describing the Police Highway Patrol Motorcycle Drill Team’s tricky and highly skilled motorcycle maneuvers along Market Street.
The rehearsal in Center City provides crews the opportunity to practice for the major event that occurs each year. The Hero Thrill Show raises funds from ticket sales and donations for the post-high school education of survivors of police officers and firefighters who were killed in the line of duty.
Former and current Thrill Show tuition beneficiaries, who will be present at the event, are furthering their education through the assistance of full Hero Thrill Show funding at mostly local colleges, universities and trade schools. The Sept. 9 four-hour schedule includes demonstrations and maneuvers from the Philadelphia Highway Patrol Motorcycle Drill Team, Mounted Patrol Unit, Police and Fire Color Guard, the Bicycle Strike Force and Police K-9 Unit.
On display will be crime-fighting equipment by the Aviation Unit, Bomb Squad, the Crime Scene Investigation Unit, The Marine Unit, Firearms Instruction, the Police Academy, SWAT and U.S. Homeland Security.
The grand entrance will include last year’s Hero Thrill Show grand marshals Andy and Teng Chan and their 10-year-old son Adam, who will ride in the official Hero Thrill Show motorcycle sidecar. Andy Chan is a 24-year veteran of the Philadelphia Highway Patrol who was severely injured in an accident as he headed to work on his motorcycle in Northeast Philadelphia in January 2019.
In the past, the Thrill Show and the Highway Patrol Motorcycle Drill Team have paid tribute to Chan’s colleague, Brian Lorenzo, who was killed by an impaired driver on I-95 in Northeast Philly while on duty in 2012. He served 23 years in the department. His three children will be eligible recipients of Hero Thrill Show educational funding in the future.
Tickets for the Sept. 9 event are $15 (single purchase) or $35 (for families of up to 5 people), and are available onsite at the entrance gates or in advance at Philadelphia police and fire stations, or http://www.herothrillshow.org/. ••