By: Brian Dixon
On March 4, 2017, I attended the Blessing Of The Bikes at Low Country Harley-Davidson in Charleston, SC. Jennifer Gibson, event organizer, said this is the fourth year they have hosted this event and more people have attended each year. I don’t know what the actual attendance was, but the parking lot was completely filled with bikes!
The event started at 9:30 am with biscuits and coffee provided by McDonalds. Christian band Vessel 21 entertained the crowd with Christian rock tunes. At 10:00 am Pastor B. H. Rader of Armored Up Motorcycle Ministry took over on the band’s microphone and asked everyone to bow their heads. He then gave a general blessing for everybody to be safe and healthy throughout the year as they ride their motorcycles. He also offered to perform individual blessings which many riders, grouped with their usual riding buddies, took him up on throughout the remainder of the morning.
The event was open to riders of all faiths, bike types, and brands, and believe me there was plenty of representation. Pastor Rader said it best when he said, “I’m actually blessing the riders that are going to be steering the bikes, not the actual bikes.”
Pastor Rader informed me that Armored Up Motorcycle Ministry is an outreach motorcyclists’ and veterans’ ministry that provides spiritual support and guidance in a loving, non-judgmental way. Based out of the Cathedral Of Praise at 3790 Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston, they are also renovating the old Catalina Motel on Rivers Ave as a boarding home for vets in need.
While waiting their turn for individual blessings, attendees could get lunch from Big Daddy Dave’s BBQ and browse the numerous vendors set up around the parking lot perimeter. Many of the vendors were very worthy organizations providing membership information. These included ABATE of SC, the Motorcycle Awareness Alliance, Bikers Against Child Abuse and the H.F. Help No Kill Rescue animal shelter because we bikers love non petrol-powered companions, too!
It was a great event that drew bikers of all types and ages riding every configuration of motorcycle known, and numerous motorcycle clubs wearing their colors. The camaraderie was evident, as the greater purpose of the event transcended the trivial differences that sometimes define us. If you didn’t make it to this year’s event, put it on your calendar for next year. As Jennifer said, “It’s a fantastic way to kick off the riding season and bring the biking community together.” It sure is, and I want to thank Low Country Harley-Davidson, Armored Up Motorcycle Ministry and all the vendors for supporting our biking community.