Sunday, December 1, 2019

Motorcycle enthusiasts collect toys for kids in need

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA (December 1, 2019) — The wet weather on Saturday couldn’t stop hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts from helping kids in need this holiday season.

The riders took part in the 25th annual Circle City Toy Run supporting the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Participants were asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or make a cash donation.

After the festivities wrapped up downtown, a police escort accompanied the riders to deliver the toys to the Salvation Army’s headquarters.

“Remember when you were a kid and you got that bicycle on Christmas? You couldn’t wait to get out and ride it? Well, here we are on our bicycles, trying to make sure the kids get their presents for Christmas,” said participant Jayson Shinault.

All told, the event raised hundreds of dollars and filled three box trucks full of toys. The Salvation Army says more than 7,000 kids are enrolled in the angel tree program this season.

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Toy Run continues on without the parade

Augusta, Maine (September 8, 2019) — The Augusta Civic Center was filled with hundreds of toys and motorcycles on Sunday due to the 38th annual Toy Run.

"This event brings together different communities of motorcycle riders to help kids in Maine," Katie Reis said, the coordinator of the toy run and a member of the United Bikers of Maine.

The event is hosted by the United Bikers of Maine, but brings together motorcycle clubs from around the state. "There are Patriot riders, combat riders, and of course United Bikers of Maine," Craig Dufour said, a long-time participant of the toy run. "I've done this event for over 30 years, and I think this is the biggest charity event in the state."

He says the event works by having people bring in toys to donate for kids in need. "It's basically a nice fundraiser and gives the kids that don't have a Christmas, a Christmas," he said.

"We don't want any kids in the state of Maine going without at least a toy for Christmas," Reis said. "We cover all 16 counties, they all get toys including the native american nations in Maine."

This is the first year in the history of Toy Run that the collected toys will not be put on display during a motorcycle parade from the Civic Center to the Windsor Fairgrounds. "We did change this year by having everything done at the Civic Center," Reis said.

That change is because of the 2017 crash that killed two people and injured two more during the parade. "It was a very sad incident," Reis said. "We still want to continue providing for the kids of Maine, so we'll find a different way of doing it."

The accident also prompted changes from Augusta City Council. 

Dufour says that it's unfortunate the event doesn't have the parade anymore, but he says he's glad the event is still helping kids all over the state. "On a good note, I think there won't be as many accidents because people are coming in small groups," he said. "It's all about the kids. 100 percent is for the kids. Everything it brings in." "We do have a very poor state, we just want to make a difference in kids lives," Reis said.

The event ran from 9 until 3 on Sunday.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Bikers surprise boy with Muscular Dystrophy

North Fort Myers, Florida (June 5, 2019) — Carter Rhodes just turned six years old, celebrating his birthday with two of his favorite things: fire trucks and motorcycles.

Carter has a rare form of muscular dystrophy called Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, which weakens the muscles around his lungs and spine, making it hard for him to breathe.

"As you can see behind me, he has several breathing machines that he has to use every single day. He has to sleep with it, if he doesn't he could pass away," said Tara Rhodes, Carter's mother.

The Rhodes family travels mainly outside of Southwest Florida for Carter's medical treatment to places like Orlando, Maryland, and Philadelphia, where Carter gets spinal surgery twice a year.

Medical bills on top of these travel expenses can get expensive, so groups like Ronin Riding Club, a local motorcycle club in Lee County, tries to help out.

Tara says the money they raise helps to cover most of the costs when they travel.

"Able to pay for our airfare, pay for our food, and the transportation while we're there from the airport to the hospital… but they've really been there since day one of him having surgeries," she said.

For his birthday, Ronin gave Carter a year-round family pass to Disneyworld and a new laptop. Another motorcycle group called Rebel Riders Club raised over $1,300 for Carter presenting it to him with a check.

Most of the riders tell me they just enjoy being around Carter.

"It's astounding to see his personality… he's always got a smile on his face, and he never lets anything get him down," said Wood, the national director of Ronin Riding Club.

Even though Carter was the one opening presents, family and friends say Carter is the best present of all.

"Cause they love Carter. His personality is infectious," Tara said.

To donate to Carter's cause, visit their Facebook or GoFundMe page.


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Friday, May 31, 2019

Motorcycle rodeo raises money for sick infants

Huntington, West Virginia (May 31, 2019) — A "rodeo on wheels" will test the skill level of bikers Saturday, June 1, in the third-annual Motorcycle Rodeo at New Baptist Church in Huntington.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Lily's Place, a treatment center that cares for infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS.

Unlike cowboys competing to stay on top of a bucking bronc, bikers will compete to see how slow they can go before having to put their foot down. They will see who can drive the farthest across a six-inch wide board on the ground and compete in a relay race that involves digging through mounds of hay.

Motorcyclists take their bikes off road during the Lily's Place Rodeo on Saturday, June 24, 2017, at New Baptist Church in Huntington. Photo: Ryan Fischer/The Herald-Dispatch

The event is free for everyone to attend and held from noon to 4 p.m. near the church's parking lot on 28th Street. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and will cost $20 per rider and $5 per passenger to enter the competition. There will also be inflatables and a free bicycle rodeo for children.

The church's Upon Wings of Eagles motorcycle ministry joined the Blue Knights WV III Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club to create the rodeo three years ago, said Kevin Skaggs, event coordinator.

They initially wanted to hold a charity ride, but decided to do something different after reading about a similar motorcycle rodeo in another state.

They agreed the rodeo should benefit Lily's Place because several members of the church have family dealing with opioid addictions, he said.

"The drug issue has pretty much hit everybody in some form or another and Lily's Place is just really amazing in the things they are doing over there," Skaggs said.

In its first two years, the event has raised $6,000 to benefit the organization. This year, they are hoping to attract at least 40 riders and raise more than $3,000. Every penny from the event and a concession sales goes toward helping Lily's Place, Skaggs said. Prizes will be given to those bikers who display the best skills during the events.

"It's quite a spectacle to watch," he said.

Oliva Meade, director of development for Lily's Place, said she is thankful for organizations and churches that include babies affected by NAS in their fundraising efforts. Fifty percent of her nonprofit's budget is dependent upon people's donations.

Lily's Place opened its doors in October 2014 as the nation's first facility devoted to helping babies born with NAS. NAS is a group of conditions occurring when a baby withdrawals from drugs it was exposed to in the womb before birth, typically opioids. They also help mothers with substance abuse counseling and provide a peer recovery coach.

Meade said Lily's Place has a goal to obtain a behavioral health license to provide billable services to families and donations are important to achieve that.

"In the past year we're still seeing an increase in infants born with NAS," she said. "It is not increasing as rapid at a rate as what we've seen in the last five to seven years, but it is still unfortunately increasing. So we know we have to be bale to increase our own operations to be able to care for babies."

SOURCE: Herald-Dispatch

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Friday, April 19, 2019

East Texas bikers show support for grieving family

Lufkin, Texas (April 18, 2019) — The family and friends of 8-year-old Dilynn Creel and 3-year-old Jace Creel, gathered Thursday morning to say their final goodbye to the brothers at Carroway Funeral Home in Lufkin.

The two boys lost their lives after a tree fell on the back of their family's car in Angelina County during Saturday's storm.

The family says the two boys loved motorcycles. So they went on social media and asked local motorcyclists to attend the funeral and lead the procession.

"It's nothing for us to be able to jump on our motorcycles," President of Cherokee Family Motorcycle Club, Robert Dye, said.

Bikers from across East Texas attended the funeral to honor the brothers.

"They (the family) wanted to see as many motorcycles here as possible," Dye said. "They actually asked if there was enough here to make the ground shake."

That is exactly what happened. More than 50 bikers led the way to the Old Palestine Cemetery in Alto as a way to remember the two little boys who "liked everything little boys do."


Monday, March 18, 2019

Motorcycle ride benefits local Youth Group

Mobile, Alabama (March 18, 2019) — Some local motorcycle riders are revving their engines to get ready for an important ride. Life Riders Motorcycle Ministries is holding what's called Restoration Ride 2019 next Saturday, March 23. This group of bikers has a mission. "We exist because we show our love for Jesus, our love of motorcycle riding, and other people," member Scott Vernon said.

The ride will benefit Youth-Reach Gulf Coast, a nonprofit that offers a year-long residential program for troubled men ages 18 to 22. Bikers will leave from the USS Alabama and go to Summerdale to the Youth Reach campus. It's a forty-eight-mile ride. Youth Reach Executive Director David Williams says the Life Riders really understand their mission, which is to give hope to those that the world has given up on. "It's unbelievable.

They (the bikers) come out by-weekly to see the property to meet the staff. They give and give and give. It's the most humbling thing I have been a part of." "We are helping the guys who need help. These 18-22-year-old men have lost their way.

We feel like this money we are gathering up will make a difference in their lives," Life Rider member, Charlie Prall said. The Life Riders are hoping for 150 people to turn out for the event. The bikers hope the money donated through Restoration Ride 2019 will help troubled young men with Youth-Reach find their way. "Anyone with a motorcycle and a heart for other people, and can make a difference in others lives, come on! We want you," Vernon said. If you would like to participate in the ride, we are providing a link here.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Biker buddies nip bullies in the bud

Saint Albert, Alberta (February 19, 2019) — Being bullied at school sucks. Having a friend stick up for you is awesome. Having a dozen bikers escort you to school rolling up on Harleys is a total game changer. That’s the philosophy behind Bullying Enns, a group that started as more than a bully deterrent: it stops them right in their tracks.

Another satisfied customer gets a free ride on the back of Steve Enns' Harley.
 Photo credit: BULLYING ENNS/Photo

The non-profit, volunteer-driven group shows up en force in response to applications made on its website at Since 2017, they’ve done dozens of rides in and around the Edmonton area, though they sometimes take the long path to places like Coronation, east of Red Deer. They came to St. Albert for the first time just last week, when a stretch SUV limo pulled up to Sir George Simpson School . Two years ago, Beaumont’s Steve Enns heard of a boy who was having a rough time because of bullies at his school. Enns gathered up several of his motorcycle-riding buddies and “it made a little bit of an impression,” he said. “After I gave this first ride, the bullying stopped and I realized that as simple as this is, it works.”

Enns says the power move isn’t like showing up with a gang that’s bigger and badder than the other guy’s gang. Instead, Enns prefers to call it passive intimidation. They don’t bully the bullies back. They only look tough, and having strength in their numbers does help the show a little bit too. “When we show up there, we’re all smiles, laughing and joking. We never know who the bully is. Everybody gets treated the same as if the kids want to come take a look at our bikes. We’ve had all sorts of kids just jumping on our bikes and asking questions. There’s absolutely no intimidation meant,” he continued. “It’s a big ego boost. ‘Hey, this guy’s got cool friends,’ you know? ‘He’s not so bad.’ They get the conversation going in the school. Also, it’ll get kids talking to the bullied kid that might not normally talk to them.”

St. Albert’s Jessica Jones said it was a very special moment for her daughter last week, who she said has been bullied horribly for more than four years, including racial and other slurs, physical violence, cyber bullying and relentless text messages suggesting she kill herself. Jones added she has tried dealing with school officials but their “hands are tied.”

 “It breaks my heart to have my daughter coming home on a daily basis saying that she doesn’t want to go to school and everybody hates her and she’s stupid, basically repeating everything that everybody else is saying to her,” she began. After making the arrangements with Steve and his riders, her daughter told her something entirely different.

 “My daughter, for the first time in her life, looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to be so popular tomorrow.’ She was so ecstatic to go to school. They told her, ‘You’re going to be our sister. You have 100 brothers just like us. To her, it put a spark back in her eye.”

 Tracy Detta-Fehr said her 11-year-old daughter has been on suicide watch twice in the last two years because of bullying. Steve Enns showed up with some of his friends to help out. One day last June, 35 motorcycles roared up for the first time. Those riders kept coming back to see their “little friend,” too.

“My daughter was giving up. This was such a huge support for her. She realized that these guys care and will continue to care. She’d be all excited that a group decided to drop in,” she said. “These guys do it from the heart. She’s going through a down time, but she is strong enough now to know besides Mom, she has big friends she can reach out to.” Enns says he has talked with a lot of people who want to help because of the scope of bullying and the pervasive impacts it has on its victims.

“It’s actually a pretty big problem. I wish I could help more people there. There’s been a lot of rides where I have welled up. There’s been a lot of rides with big burly bikers come up to me and they go, ‘Man, I had to keep my sunglasses on because there were tears coming down.’ It is actually pretty emotional. I hear some pretty crappy stories. There’s some rides that you almost actually feel emotionally drained afterwards.”

Because it works as a non-profit, Bullying Enns fundraises and hosts special events to support its activities. Next month, it will host a ski event at Sunridge Ski Hill and a poker night in Okotoks later on.

SOURCE: St. Albert Gazette

Monday, January 7, 2019

Bikers ride to help pay for funeral

Anderson, Indiana (January 7, 2019) – Andy Deane knows all too well the stresses on parents having to plan and pay for not one but two funerals. He went through it with his two daughters, who died of illness.

So he understands what the mother of Javon Blackwell Jr., 12, and Jayzon Blackwell, 11, must be going through personally and financially as she prepares to lay her boys to rest.

Andy Deane prepares to start up his motorcycle in front of DT's R Bar in Anderson in preparation for a benefit ride to Mount Summit on Sunday.

That’s why Deane put on his bandanna and his leather chaps and joined a couple of dozen motorcyclists who raised money Sunday on a ride sponsored by Second Amendment Riders. The ride started at DT’s R Bar and took participants to 1,000 Degree Wood Fired Pizza in Mount Summit, where the pizzeria pledged 10 percent of its food sales to the benefit.

“It hit home, losing two kids. It hit home hard,” he said.

The motorcycle ride is one of several efforts to raise money for the funerals of the two boys, whose classmates at Anderson Preparatory Academy return Monday from winter break. A GoFundMe page has raised a little more than $1,800 of the $5,000 requested.

Donations may be made at

The Blackwell brothers and their father, Javon Blackwell Sr., 42, were found shot to death Dec. 30 in a home in the 2300 block of South Gallatin Street in Marion.

Deane, who bought his motorcycle about a year ago, has participated in about three benefit rides since then.

“All the bikers get together when something like this happens in the community,” he said. “I lost two daughters myself, and the community helped me out. I like to pay that back.”

Brothers Javon Blackwell Jr., 12, and Jayzon Blackwell, 11, died Dec. 30 in a Marion home. Both were students at Anderson Preparatory Academy. Photo provided by the family to Fox 59

The motorcyclists benefited from unusually great weather for early January. But that didn’t matter, Deane said. “I’d have been here, rain, shine or snow,” he said.

Jason Mahla of Second Amendment Riders said deaths involving gun violence are exactly the kind of cause his organization gets behind. “We don’t believe firearms should be taken away. We believe firearms are for proper use,” he said.

Though the motorcycle club is helping to pay for the funerals of the two boys, it is at this point helping to pay for the funeral of the father. That’s because the not-for-profit can’t help when gun violence is the result of drug deals or bar fights. “With narcotics found in the house, it prevents us from doing a benefit for him,” he said. “It’s got to be an innocent victim. There’s no way the boys could have been doing something where they deserved to be shot.”

In the end, however, most would prefer to ride because the weather is nice and hope there won’t have to be any more benefits this year, Mahla said. “We wish this cause would never have to be, but it seems people just aren’t prepared for funerals,” he said.

Funeral arrangements

Visitation for Javon Blackwell Jr., 12, and Jayzon Blackwell, 11, will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 1204 W. 14th St., Marion.

Services will take place following the visitation at noon at the church.

SOURCE: Herald Bulletin 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Hundreds of bikers ride for Durant infant

Durant, Oklahoma (January 5, 2019) — Usually, it only takes a little sunshine to bring this many motorcycle riders together. But on Friday, it was all for Dahlia Ussery, who died three days after Christmas, just eight days after she was born.

"She was going to be on a bike before she could walk, so this means a lot to me that we had this many people here," said Dahlia's father, Dakota Ussery. Born into a family of bikers, Ussery's only request was to have an escort of bikes that would lead Dahlia to her final resting place. "He asked me to have a few bikes," said grandfather Tim Ussery, "and I just sent out this request and I just sent it out to anyone to help."

Little did they know the request would be shared more than 7,000 times on Facebook, uniting bikers from across the country. "There's no way to describe it... folks from Arkansas, Kansas, all over Oklahoma, all over Texas," said Calera Police Chief Don Hyde.

Brandi Peek is a biker who came all the way from Dallas, can relate to the Usserys' grief. "I lost a child before, so I know how it feels, so I said, 'I want to go out and support this guy and whatever I can do,'" Peek said.

Hundreds of riders escorted Dahlia down U.S. 70, showing that behind the black leather and metal rims are hearts of gold. "People have bad things about bikers, and they come together like you wouldn't believe for each other, and they are good people," Ussery said. "Keep on pushing is knowing that I have a community like this around me."

 A selfless act bonded these bikers forever. "It's renewed my thought, my appreciation, my love in people," Hyde said. The family said they're planning a poker run to start a non-profit in Dahlia's honor.