Bringing joy across the border
Rosarito Beach, Baja Mexico, Jul. 13–15—Rolling Deep 4 Charities 14th annual Rosarito Beach Motorcycle Run was bigger and better than ever this year. The run kicked off from Lifestyle Cycles in Fullerton, California, with a stop at San Diego Harley for other riders from all around the southern region to join in. From there, hundreds of bikes made their way over the border into Mexico. The group gathered once more just after the first toll booth where they were joined by the Mexican Federales. The Federales provided a police escort all the way to Rosarito. I always leave ahead of the group for photos, before hopping on my bike and leapfrogging the group for different shots ahead. The ride was amazing. Not many people can say they’ve shot past the police in Mexico on a Harley at over 80 mph, looking over and receiving waves and nods of approval. It’s a rush!
RD4C was founded by Martin Resendez (a.k.a. El Jefe) and his wife, Sonia. After witnessing children living in extreme poverty during a trip to Mexico, they felt compelled to do something. What started off with a handful of bikes taking toys to orphans has blown up into this massive event. For $40 participants receive a packet containing a bandana, commemorative patch, raffle ticket, meal ticket, and a wristband providing access to a number of bars in the area. But most important of all, you get to do something for the children, which is really what it’s all about.
Friday is the day for unwinding. People get checked into their rooms and get situated before heading down to the party at Papas & Beer. The food provided was delicious, and another perk to having a wristband is discounted buckets of beer! With great live music, raffles, and contests, the party was in full swing. I was about a bucket of beers in when I remembered I hadn’t booked a room, and the town was sold out. Within minutes of mentioning it to someone, Martin’s right-hand man, Popeye Gutierrez, stepped up and offered me his extra room. These guys are so cool and generous, and they treat me like family. I have mad respect and love for them all, and to me, they are family.
Saturday is when all the magic happens. Everyone meets up and gets yet another police-escorted ride over to City Hall where hundreds of eager and excited children await. I arrived early and had a chance to talk with Milo Victoria, vice president of RD4C. “Normally we don’t do this event here. This is only the second time we’ve done this at City Hall. Right next door are the offices of DIF, the National System for Integral Family Development, a Mexican public institution of social assistance that focuses on strengthening and developing the welfare of the Mexican families. Together with them, this year we have face painting, a little petting zoo, games for the kids, inflated bounce houses—basically a whole playground. And thanks to the generosity of Irma Carrillo, who personally provided 100 pizzas, we can feed all the kids too.” Irma has fed the children at every run for the last decade.
Just after my talk with Milo, a police truck rounded the corner with huge pack of bikes rumbling behind. Hundreds of them! This year was noticeably bigger than any other with more bikers and kids. The bikers created a bucket line starting from the massive trailers full of toys to their designated areas, passing along thousands of toys. It’s truly amazing how many nice toys there were. On top of that, there were dozens of bicycles too. Everything was meticulously organized and sorted by age and gender and routed to the appropriate tables. Everyone who showed up had a chance to get in on the action. If you attend this next year, don’t miss this opportunity! I just can’t put into words the feeling I get watching the kids’ faces light up while choosing their toys. One girl caught my attention while receiving a bicycle. I could tell she was so overwhelmed with excitement she was about to break into tears. I could tell this was probably the best thing she’s ever received. It’s amazing.
After the last toys are given away, there’s a look of relief on all of the RD4C staff’s faces. These guys put a lot of time and effort into this all year long to make this happen. I looked over at RD4C’s Roni Ruiz-Duarte and said, “You must be happy this is over.” “Not really,” she said. “We’ll start working on next year as soon as we get back.”
With this year’s mission complete, it was time to celebrate. Back at Papas & Beer the main party was underway. Time for some wet T-shirts. Several contestants took the stage and competed for the best body. After all the girls had done their routine, it was time to pick a winner by audience applause. A star was born. Now I’m not saying she was ugly; let’s just say there was no comparison between her and the other top contenders. She got the most applause. With a confused look on his face, thinking it must be a fluke, El Jefe had her do a dance-off with the other runners-up. She proceeded to “dirty dance,” involving some of the other girls. The crowd was going crazy. It was hilarious! Time for another vote. The entire place roared when it was her turn , and there wasn’t a single person in the house that wasn’t cheering. It was some kind of phenomenon. She won hands down. It was by far the highlight of the night.
On Sunday there was one more opportunity for a police escorted ride back up to the border, although a lot of crew stayed behind for one last day of relaxation, including me. As I sat on the balcony Sunday morning taking in the beautiful ocean view, Popeye came out and joined me. With a tired look on his face, he explained, “People don’t know how much goes into this. We all have jobs and spend most of our free time making this happen. Sometimes it takes a toll on us; it’s stressful. Sometimes we argue and fight, but we’re always family in the end. It’s all for the kids.”