Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

12th Annual 9-11 Commemorative Ride - Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  September 30, 2016

Sunday September the 11th, 2016 started out as the most beautiful day to go for a ride. Well over 200 motorcycles rolled into the American Legion Post #171 on 1st Ave. North in Birmingham, Alabama, where everyone was so excited about doing this ride and coming out to show their support and respect for the lives lost on September the 11th 2001, and also for the first responders.

The ladies had coffee and a light breakfast inside, as folks gathered to register and draw their first card, kicking off the poker run. It was awesome to see such a large group forming in the parking lot. We got to see some folks we haven’t seen in quite some time, and of course we ended up meeting some new folks as well, like the bunch from the West Alabama Regulators. They are a really nice group of people, who we enjoyed talking with.

The ride was escorted, so there was the usual safety meeting prior to taking off, and a prayer to keep all the riders safe on their journey.

Once they got started, it took a minute for everyone to get rolled out and on their way to the American Legion Post #255 in Fultondale for the second draw. It’s always a beautiful sight to see and hear hundreds of bikes rumbling down the road with several flags flying behind them. One was packing a dog, and one even that looked a little like a sports car from the front.

Shortly after the group left Post #255 in Fultondale, one of the bikers went down in kind of a freak accident. The front half of the ride continued on as the back half who were behind the accident stopped to render help. By some great fortune, the ride had a “Florence Nightingale” disguised as a cute little girl with purple hair named Heather. Heather said she always travels with her bag of “help” wherever she goes (thank God for that and for her), so she was there doing everything she could to help this fallen rider just as soon as everyone could get stopped. They stayed with him until help arrived to take him to the hospital, after which, some of the remaining riders decided to just head on over to the last stop and wait on the rest of them.

The ride continued on to Post #347 in Fairfield, and then on to Post #137 which is also in Fairfield, before landing at Post # 107 in Leeds where everything would wrap up.

There was lunch for everyone as they drew their last card and got everything tallied up. We were also waiting for word on the rider that went down.

In the meantime John Burke, Chase Hersey and Tony Berenotto with American Legion Posts 107 and 171 (who did a great job of organizing this ride, as usual), called up some of the local first responders and honored them with a plaque; which we all thought was a very nice gesture. Afterwards, it was time to turn loose of some of those door prizes, which there was no shortage of. There was even a nice large tool set that one of the riders who had a brief breakdown in the beginning of the ride, would have really liked to have had with him on his journey. Thankfully he was able to fix his bike and ride on.

By then we had gotten word that Tommy Oliver who had just recently joined the Birmingham H.O.G group, had passed away at the hospital due to the injuries he sustained during the wreck. Needless to say we were all very saddened by the news. Mr. Burke announced that the Legion riders who organized this ride were going to donate their part of the 50/50 monies to the family. He no sooner got that out of his mouth when everyone started yelling, “Just don’t draw-give it all to them!” Cause that’s how these bikers roll!

Not only did they give those monies to them but they kept selling 50/50 tickets to add to it, and the winner of $50 and the low hand, George Davidson said, “Put my winnings in there as well.” Jason Buzbee, who was the winner of the $100 high hand didn’t even come in there, but sent word to throw his winnings in the pot as well. Another member of the Legion riders pulled a hundred dollar bill out of his pocket and put in as well. It was just so touching to see the outpouring of love and support for one of their own, whether they knew him or not. They ended up with close to $3,000 to give the family. This is why I LOVE my biker family!

In Memory of: Tommy Ray Oliver 12-16-71 to 9-11-16

Tommy is survived by his mother Etta, father Harold, sons Brant and Joshua, sister Brooke, granddaughters Kamylah, Sophia and Rhonda, nephews, a host of loving aunts, uncles, cousins and a multitude of friends.

Thanks to Jimmy Buzbee and Kelly Steadham for sharing a couple of the photos. The last picture is of Tommy!