The roar of motorcycle engines was heard frequently Friday at Veterans of Memorial Park in Mount Airy as the Run to the Ridge event geared up for its third year.
But an atmosphere of charity filled the air as well.
“Feeding our neighbors — that’s the biggest thing about it,” said Bobby Beck of Pilot Mountain, a Harley-Davidson rider attending Run to the Ridge with his wife Darlene.
The family oriented festival, which began Friday and ends Sunday, is sponsored by the local non-profit organization, Matthew 25:35 Inc.
That organization uses money raised from ticket sales and other proceeds from the three-day gathering to supply food to Surry Countians in need through Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year, more than $15,000 was generated, which translated into 87,500 meals for the hungry.
Beck, the Harley rider from Pilot Mountain, who has attended Run to the Ridge each of its three years, said a stereotype is attached to bikers historically — according to legend, one of wild leather-jacket-wearing hoodlums.
While that is a blatantly unfair characterization in itself, Beck also pointed out that motorcyclists tend to be at the forefront of charitable efforts.
“Any time there are kids or families in need, you’re going to find bikers,” he said. “They’re going to help people in need.”
Models of all styles, with glistening chrome and paint jobs, could be spotted Friday at the park on West Lebanon Street.
David Potts, another rider, who arrived there from his home in North Wilkesboro, said there is also a sense of camaraderie at such motorcycle-oriented gatherings which serves as a magnet to draw like-minded individuals.
“That’s it, man, the bikers,” said Potts, who was attending Run to the Ridge for the first time, and wore a T-shirt with a likeness of reggae star Bob Marley. Potts said his wife went to the beach, but discovered on the Internet that Run to the Ridge was being held, so she suggested that he “check it out.”
Along with activities that appeal to the motorcycling community, a lineup of quality entertainment doesn’t hurt, with Run to the Ridge featuring concerts by former lead singers of the rock bands Journey, Bad Company and Boston.
Potts was looking forward to a performance by Fran Cosmo of Boston, scheduled Friday night. “That’s the main reason I came.”
In addition to the music, Tim Smith of the “Moonshiners” television show on the Discovery Channel, will be at the bike festival today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to meet fans, along with his son J.T., who has been seen on some of its episodes.
A poker run offering the possibility to win $100,000 also is being held in conjunction with Run to the Ridge.
Among other attractions are an exhibit of vintage motorcycles by the Wheels Through Time museum, a victory lap slide and a display of a custom-built motorcycle from “Orange County Choppers” by Carolina Carports.
Classic cars can be seen as well, with a rat race and bike show scheduled today.
A complete listing of Run to the Ridge activities and scheduling can be found at http://www.runtotheridge.com/
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.