Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

November 2, 2012

Motorcyclists band together

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

— Motorcycle-loving members of one fresh Ripley County group and an established Franklin County one are helping the less fortunate in this area.

Infamous Few Ripley County was started “because helping with charities was something all of us were interested in individually and we decided that we could do more as a group,” says President Derek Denny.

Instead of formal meetings, “we mostly do this by word of mouth. Someone overhears something, we check it out, and then we vote on it. If the vote passes, we get to work .... there is never a shortage of ideas. Unfortunately, there is also never a shortage of need.”

The club’s first Liberty Ride Car and Bike Show July 28, beginning and ending at Liberty Park, “was really nice,” the Batesville man recalls. “It gave us a chance to make some new friends and re-acquaint with some old ones ... We were able to raise a fair amount of money for a couple different families with sick children.” Leftover hot dogs and pulled pork were given to single parents who could use the  help.

Kids aren’t the only focus. A May cruise-in drew six old cars and close to 30 bikes to Brookville Healthcare. One resident (Fred Verbrugee, who died shortly after) was named an Infamous Few honorary member. “He told one of our members that his perfect day would be to hang out with a bunch of bikers, drink a cold Coors light and eat a coney dog. He didn’t get his coney, but told us we made much more than his day,” according to the president.

Now members are using two methods to gain children's winter coats. A Nov. 11 Koats for Kids Poker Run is open to the public. Registration starts at noon at Batesville Wing Co. and the ride at 1 p.m. Participants will travel 60 miles and make three or four stops with a 50-50 raffle at each. The person with the best poker hand at the end of the event gets $100. Attendees will celebrate at Lil’ Charlie’s with a $6 barbecue buffet. The fee is $15 for a single rider or $20 for a couple. All proceeds will be used to purchase coats.

Gently used kids’ coats may be donated by Nov. 11 at Lil' Charlie's, Batesville; Lee's Country RV, Twin Oaks; Bonaparte's Retreat, Napoleon; Osgood Grub Co., Osgood; Hog Rock, Milan; Permanent Impressions Ink, Versailles; and Vibe Records, Greensburg. Monetary donations for this and other efforts can be made to any of the members.

Social media is the way officers get the word out about projects. After members learned a friend’s dad needed expensive liver transplant medicine and put it on Facebook, $4,800 was raised in a week, according to Denny.

Infamous Few Ripley County is a diverse bunch. "We have a nurse, tattoo artist, business owner, chef, factory worker and EMT. The things that bring us all together are the love of motorcycles and the desire to help out those in our community.”

Established in 1998, the Franklin County HOBOS (Helpers on Bikes Organization) “primarily concentrate on the children, our future, but as we continue to grow, we would like to help anyone that is in need of assistance,” reports volunteer Kim Buckles.

Last year the 25 or so active members sponsored 120 Franklin County children at Christmas. The list is compiled after members meet with the local Department of Child Services and county school administrators.

An upcoming annual county ride funds the project. “It may be very chilly out, but our hearts are filled with warmth.”

The Bikers for Tykes Ride/Dinner/Dance is Saturday, Nov. 24. Sign-ups will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Pioneer Restaurant, Brookville, and kickstands will go up at noon. There will be a party bus provided for those who cannot bike, but still want to participate. The ride will return to the Brookville American Legion around 6 p.m. for a dinner. Music by The Renegades and dancing will begin at 8 p.m. Fees are $10 for a single rider, $15 for a rider with passenger and $5 for the dance only.

It costs $10 to enter a big money drawing, which boasts three prizes: first, $3,000; second, $1,500; and third, $500. Basket raffle tickets cost $5 for a sheet of 25 tickets.

Other moneymakers include a Canoefest ride added this year, golf outings, stillboard shoots, bowling and cornhole tournaments and a Brookville IGA cookout.

Their assistance doesn’t just elevate holidays. Recently the club purchased a wooden jungle gym swing set, slide and playhouse and donated it to the county park. A scholarship fund will be started this year with the first awards given to 2012-13 graduates.

Buckles admits, “There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you are a part of a small local group of people volunteering their time and pulling together to make sure some less fortunate children will get to have something to open on Christmas morning ... It is a very humbling experience and one that puts joy in all of our hearts – seeing the smiles and relief in those parents’ eyes as well as the joy we know the children experience on Christmas morning.”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 113; or debbie.blank@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.