The summer crowds are gone – no more jet skis, zippy boats, ski boats, wake boarders or really loud, bad music streaming from a boat’s stereo system. Above all things, I do not miss that. Some songs, in my opinion, do nothing but pollute the air and airwaves and quite simply are painful to hear…too many to list, so I won’t even get started on that subject. However, I will say that it seems like the songs I loathe the most are the ones boat owners around here have to play loud enough to be heard from a bald eagle’s aerie. In New Hampshire.
Motorcycles. A lot of motorcycles.
Ah yes. Bikes, Blues and BBQ weekend, aka, The Triple B. I’d read about is happening this weekend. An annual event attended by hundreds of thousands of bikers – I think the attendance guesstimate for this year was 400,000, not including the vendors. Bikers come from all 50 states and even other countries to gather in Fayetteville, Arkansas for this three day event, touted as being the country’s largest charity motorcycle rally. Over the course of its 17 year history, BBB has donated $1.5 million to the Northwest Arkansas community’s local charities and organizations who serve people in need. Here are just a few organizations who benefit from the proceeds raised by vendors and BBB merchandise:
7 Hills homeless center
Boys and Girls Club of Fayetteville
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NW Arkansas
Horses For Healing
CASA for children (court appointed special advocates)
NW Arkansas Free Health Center
Peace at Home Family Shelter
Ozark Literacy Council
In Gainesville, Florida where I lived, it seemed like a platoon of motorcycles roared through town a least once a month. Daytona was a popular destination for fundraiser rallies, “Our Kids” one of the biggest and longest running, and of the course the infamous Daytona Bike Week. Like fire trucks and Canada geese, you could hear the bike engines long before you saw them.
When I did some poking around about other motorcycle rallies, I wasn’t surprised to read that every state hosts at least one. Those with an * are ones I recall going through Florida. Some of the more popular are:
Sturgis – considered the most popular and rowdiest rally in this country, held in North Dakota in August. The mayor of Sturgis hosts the “Mayor’s Ride”. For a $150 registration fee you can ride with the mayor through the scenic Black Hills and know that your money benefits the Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department and Police Reserve.
Ride for Kids – The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation hosts this ride, organizing 37 motorcycle events across the country since 1984. Funds raised go toward grants for medical research in addition to helping out affected families.
*Ride for Life – this is the largest Harley-Davidson fundraising event to benefit MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association). Going strong since 1988, all money raised by the EHDDA, ( Eastern Harley-Davidson Dealers Association of New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania and southern New York…the longest string of words compressed into an acronym that I’ve ever seen!), stays in the area to help local individuals and families suffering from muscular dystrophy.
Here's a short video of one group of riders in this year's Ride for Life.......
*Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom – a caravan of hundreds of thousands bikers rumble through the nation’s capital to raise public awareness for those in the armed forces still being held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action. Also known as The Run For the Wall, the bikers travel through Washington, D.C., starting by the Pentagon and finishing at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
3J’s Motorcycle Days – this is a twenty years old charity rally on the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Not for the slow poke or casual Sunday biker, this rally lets bikers combine their need for speed with their desire to help a good cause: Speedway children’s Charities helps disadvantaged children.
You don't have to ride a motorcycle to aid a charity event. There are countless numbers of walks, runs, marathons, bike runs (hi Uncle John and Jackie!!) that you can participate in to raise money to benefit those in need. I've walked/run in many and it always feels good to know that my time and efforts are helping someone I'll likely never meet.
What about events for causes where you walk, run or pedal a bike?