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Rough Necks, fire fighters lead ride to raise funds for MDA
Jul 24, 2012 12:00 am
Motorcycle clubs are not what they used to be. Long past are the days when they were renowned for causing trouble. These day the clubs are known for helping out those in need.
In that vein, the Wilson County Professional Fire Fighters Association and the Lebanon Roughnecks joined forces Saturday to host the second annual Middle Tennessee ride to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
This motorcycle ride began at the Gladeville Community Center after a free pancake breakfast and, following a well attended ride, the event ended with the distribution of door prizes at Buffalo Wild Wings in Mt. Juliet.
Ken Thomas of Watertown began the day as a "prospect" for the Rough Necks and, before the ride even began, he was made an official member of the club receiving his Rough Neck vest and congratulations all around.
Thomas said he had recently visited a camp in Scottsville for children with muscular dystrophy.
"Most of the kids had never been around motorcycles that much," he said, adding that what attracted him to the group was its commitment to good works. "The Rough Necks are all about serving the community. We have family nights and kid friendly events."
Thomas, a veteran of the Air Force, was dressed in jeans, boots and a bandana. He certainly looked the part of the tough guy motorcycle rider. It didn't really go with his articulate, soft-spoken conversation.
"I wear a suit and tie Monday through Friday," he said with a laugh. "I look like this on the weekend."
Det. Mike Barbie of the Wilson County Sheriff's Department was also ready to ride Saturday morning to show the department's support of for the Firefighters Association and to help out MDA.
"They support our ride so we're gonna do everything we can to support them," he said.
WCSD Dep. Terry Sague agreed.
"They rode with us for Relay for Life, plus it's a good cause," Sague said, adding that he has a grandson with a similar medical condition so that gives him extra motivation to help out. "I always do all the rides I can."
The parking lot outside the community center was filled with motorcycles of every size, color and shape. All were in pristine condition with chrome gleaming. Event organizers had trophies on hand for Best in Show, Best Trike (three wheeled) motorcycle, one for the person who traveled the longest distance to get to the event and one for the Best Custom bike. The winner are voted on by participants.
Scott Lorden, as president of the Wilson County Firefighters Association and sergeant at arms with the the Rough Necks, was one of the main organizers of the event.
"We have all makes and models of motorcycles here," he said, adding that with so many crossover members and members of law enforcement participating it only made since for everyone to work together. "We combined families for the greater good."
He agreed that motorcycle clubs enjoy a much better reputation now than in decades past.
"You won't find a motorcycle club that doesn't do charity rides," Lorden said.
James Copas is the vice president of the WCFA.
"This is our main charity event of the year," he said, adding that the group also does the "Fill the Boot" fundraiser at the Wilson County Fair. "All of it is to raise money for MDA, to help kids go to summer camp and to fund research about the 43 neuromuscular diseases. Last year we raised $10,500 that was sent to the Jerry Lewis telethon. This year we hope to go past that."
The ladies were also represented among the riders who came out for charity.
Kelly Hestla and Trish Stanley came to the event with their good looking motorcycles and were ready to hit the road. Stanley's even had sunglasses and earrings to match her ride.
David Bodenhamer said he had ridden with the ladies from Murfreesboro for the event and complemented them on their motorcycle skills. His only complaint?
"They ride too fast," he said. "It's a 30 minute ride, we got here in 20."
This is the second year for the Middle Tennessee ride, and the Wilson County Fire Fighters and the Roughnecks appreciate the continued support from the community to help them help MDA patients. The final total raised will be announced on the 2012 MDA Labor Day Telethon Sunday, Sept. 4, from 7-11 p.m. on Fox 17.
The donations collected by the Firefighters and Roughnecks will help fund local clinics and support groups, as well as fund vital research aimed at treatments and cures for neuromuscular disease.
If you would like to help out the cause, but don't ride motorcycles, they still need your money. Go to email@example.com, or call Lorden at 394-9302 for more information or to find out how to donate.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 444-3952, ext. 45 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
MDA Ride 1 Photo: Dallus Whitfield • The Lebanon Democrat
Bill Macke (left) of Lebanon and Scott Lorden, president of the Wilson County Firefighters Association, talk motorcycles outside the Gladeville Community Center Saturday morning prior to the start of the Middle Tennessee ride to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.