Motorcyclists from all across Alberta converged on Stettler on Saturday, Aug. 23 to help support a friend during a tough time.
The event – Motorcycles and Music – consisted of a barbecue and show’n’shine during the day and an evening dinner and music.
Rod McDonald organized the event to help out a friend who was recovering from an illness.
The individual at the heart of the fundraiser “has done a pile of charity of work all of (their) life,” he said. “I found a need to help out.”
The person at the heart of the fundraiser was surprised by the gesture, but wished to remain anonymous.
According to Rod, the event brought in nearly $3,000 and several bikers.
“For the most part, the entire town was extremely helpful and extremely generous,” McDonald said of the various groups and businesses who donated prizes, space, and food for the event.
Making the event a motorcycle show’n’shine was a no-brainer, since both he and the other volunteers were motorcycle people.
It’s a culture amongst them to do whatever they can to help their own when they fall on tough times, McDonald said, and motorcyclists love to ride and will come from all over.
“The motorcycle show was just to get people together,” he said. “Motorcyclists as a norm usually bond and will come out for any event. They love to ride and will go long distances.”
Tammy Laybourne travelled into Stettler from south of Botha, where she now lives – though for years she lived in the Coronation area.
She’s had her black-and-white 2009 Harley Davidson soft-tailed deluxe for about a year.
“A girl had bought it and was scared of it, so it sat in her garage for four years,” Laybourne said. “I love it. The freedom (is the best thing about riding). The wind in your face, the feeling of speed.”
Since acquiring the bike, she’s added aftermarket chrome and her “little crystal bling.”
She started her motorcyclist life three years ago with a Kawasaki Vulcan 900.
“I rode as a teenager and then I married a cowboy,” she said. “I rode horses for 25 years, and then my husband passed away. I finished raising our kids, and three years ago I was sitting on my deck having a cold beer and thought, ‘it’d be a great night for a ride.’”
She asked herself “what’s stopping me?” and Laybourne decided nothing – so went and got her bike.
One of the best things about the event was making new friends since she’s pretty new to Botha. However, bringing motorcyclists together has ensured that there are many people with the same sort of interests all in one place.
Most importantly, Laybourne said, was coming out to help a friend.
McDonald said the event was a success and there’s talk about doing it again next year, picking another deserving person to help out – as long as he gets more help with the organizing end.