Last month I wrote about our brothers and sisters in Illinois and their issue with trying to put on a poker run, but having to shell out big bucks to do it. State Senator Gary Forby (D) had championed the cause of ABATE of Illinois and others by proposing Senate Bill 3312 that will clarify the rules and costs. They unanimously approved that the top cost of a license would now be $25 instead of $100 for each stop on a run. Hopefully other costs can also be reduced… You are invited to Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 25–29 for five days of music, riding and fun. Come join us for our inaugural Freedom Cruise to raise money for Finish the Mission Veteran Relief Fund for west Michigan veterans, and the national American Fallen Soldiers Project. This is going to be one hell of a party. Come ride in west Michigan and see Danny “The Count” Koker and his band “Counts 77”, Kevin Mack, Rick and Kelly Dale, Madison Rising, and a ride-in by the Fugawis. For info on our Freedom Cruise go to www.freedomcruise.net, and for info on the American Fallen Soldiers Project go to www.americanfallensoldiers.com… Mankato Harley-Davidson in Minnesota held an early fundraiser for Toys for Tots in April. The dealership provided good food, music, a bike rodeo and pig races. Mankato Sales Manager Joe Grommersch, being a former Marine, felt that this event was just perfect for him and the dealership. All the proceeds were donated to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign… The Rough Riders Motorcycle Club in Lawton, Oklahoma, held their spring poker run this year to benefit the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Home. In addition to the funds raised, they also donated eight handicap accessible planters to the Veterans Center. What a great idea. If they are in wheelchairs or cannot get on their hands and knees to plant and play in the dirt, they are able to stand and work… The 6th annual Black Diamond Harley-Davidson Community College Scholarship Celebration has again honored 45 Southern Illinois high school seniors by awarding them each a $1,000 check for tuition at a community college in their district. Black Diamond co-owners Rodney Cabaness and Shad Zimbro use this scholarship as their way to give back to the community by helping students achieve their dreams. So far the project has awarded almost 300 scholarships to a tune of $300,000. They only ask that the students let them know how things are going in a few years… The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial in Marseilles, Illinois, received an addition to their memorial in the form of a stone block that came from the Pentagon after the attacks on 9/11. The Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run Memorial is open year around, but the unveiling of the stone will be on June 21 during the Freedom Fest. Mike Garcia, an anti-terrorism officer on duty at the Pentagon on 9/11, saw a news clip about the memorial and noticed they had nothing from the attacks, so he contacted retired police inspector Steven Saymon who personally brought the block from New Jersey and presented it to Greg Hoffman, VP of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run, and Marseilles Mayor Patricia Smith… In Missouri, House Bill 1655 would allow riders 21 and over the right to choose whether they wear a lid or not. I have plenty of friends down in Festus, St, Charles and Eagle Rock that are happy as hell that they are finally winning the fight. I used to go to St. Charles and ride in the yearly “Rat Ride and Gas Guess” started by Joe Sparrow and the Freedom of Road Riders years ago. The ride always went over to Illinois so they could ride free. Those banzai rides back to the boats at night to get across the Mighty Miss were hair-raising, to say the least… In another tidbit from Missouri, Charles Jaco, a reporter on KTVI-Fox 2, still has his job after reporting in a tweet about the large amount of motorcycles around the State Capitol: “Lots of Harleys at State Capitol today. Assume the members of the Missouri Legislature are finally getting around to legalizing meth.” The motorcyclists were there to rally for lifting the ban on Sunday motorcycle sales. He offered no public apology; just another tweet of apology. OK, folks; you know what to do… Sarah Palin was in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 27 to endorse State Senator Joni Ernst for a U.S. Senator seat that has opened. Palin called her a “pistol-packin’ Harley rider” who will shake up Washington. Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, also has her “Squeal” ad campaign that states, “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm” and will “cut through the pork” in Washington. Boys; that is a mean, Harley-ridin’ mama… That’s it for this month. It’s all about you, the Midwest biker. Ride fast, but ride safe.