If you live in Florida and have any news of shop openings/closings or relocating, nuns getting married or your favorite mechanic moving to a new location, drop me a line at SunDancer1@cfl.rr.com.
The winter here in the Sunshine State has been so mild this year, I’ve been in my glory. With daytime temps in the mid to high 70s, perfect riding conditions came often and were never more obvious than on Saturday, February 4, when Bones from American Steel MC and I headed over to the East Coast to catch the 1st annual Bikers in Need Run leaving out of the Jameson Inn in Palm Bay. Bikers In Need is an organization that was started by Dave “Bear” Stoiber to help other bikers with food and basic necessities. The registration fee was only $5 and a nonperishable can of food. When we rolled into the parking lot there were at least a couple hundred bikes at that point and by the time we registered and grabbed a cup of coffee, another 100 or so had arrived. When the time came to exit the parking lot, it took several minutes for it to empty onto Palm Bay Road and then onto I-95, but the officers providing the escort knew their job and did it well. There were only a couple of slowdowns on the highway and soon we were hitting the exit ramp and on our way to Wickham Park Pavilion, where there were about a hundred more bikes who had chosen not to make the ride and just show up for the party. There were bands lined up for the afternoon’s entertainment and eight vendors vying for our cash. With not much else to hold our attention, the crowd slowly dispersed and within an hour or so only about half of the original crowd was still around. I guess the beautiful weather was calling for everyone to saddle up and get back in the wind, which is what Bones and I did as we headed to find some lunch. For information on next year’s run or to make a donation to Bikers In Need, visit the website at www.bikersinneed.org…Earlier in the month, things were certainly going on around town. On January 22, riders and truck enthusiasts alike headed to the VFW in Candler for a Kruisin’ for Kids event. The doors opened at noon and the day was packed with two of the most important things—music by local talent Cajun Dave and barbecue with all the fixin’s. This is an annual event to raise money for children sheltered in several Florida counties. The highlight of the afternoon was the auction of several items autographed by John Travolta from the Wild Hogs movie. In years past, John and his wife have appeared at several events in the Ocala area to help raise money for various worthy causes… Then I got wind of another special ride up in the Ormond Beach area that took place on January 29. My friend Radio Bob e-mails me from time to time to let me know about things happening up that way in his turf. This annual event, simply called the Memorial Ride, started back in 1987 or ’88. Tom Rosamond, the ride’s founder, can’t quite remember which year it was. When it started it was just to remember friends that had passed on, which totaled 11 at that time. Now over 200 names are on that special list with 137 bikers showing up for today’s ride. Riders left Smiley’s Tap on US 1 just north of the Iron Horse Saloon and took a cruise through the Loop before heading back to the starting point. The 50/50 was pretty hefty, too, with $311 going to the winner before the afternoon wrapped up. Each year the proceeds from the run are designated for a need in the community… The weekend of February 17–19 was a busy one for sure. The COBBers held their annual Pre-Bike Week Kick-off Party down in Kissimmee at the old rodeo stadium grounds. This is not one of the biggest nor baddest of events here in the area but it is one of the “funnest.” The COBBers are such a good group and just full of fun and frivolity, one would have to be dead not to enjoy a weekend with them. The event started on Friday afternoon and cleanup was around midday on Sunday, but it was slow process after a weekend of fun… The afternoon of February 18, the Buffalo Soldiers over in Rockledge hosted an annual benefit to help Big Poppa. Rodell “Big Poppa” Price is 41 years old and a veteran. After going into the hospital in 2009 for thyroid surgery, he was left in a coma for months and became blind with very limited mobility. His wife is his only caregiver and this unfortunate situation has impacted them not only physically, but financially as well… The sun rose on the 19th with another chance to help out another biker. The 1st annual Pay It Back Run started at the Chrome Angels clubhouse and ended at Cowboys Country Music Lounge in downtown Orlando. This ride was another one started with the idea of helping other riders in need. When I went down in late 2010, the riding community came together that November to help me out and I promised that I would carry it on and “pay it back” each year. Unfortunately, this past November, I was in California having another surgery and the ride was postponed until February. Although the threat of rain and high winds scared some off, friends and supporters came together to support the cause and a portion of the proceeds were donated to the family of Gabriel Varela. Gabriel died on Thanksgiving Day 2011 when he lost control of his bike taking a turn. The donation will be used to help pay remaining bills due to his death. That’s it this time. Bless you all and take care of each other.