Port Lavaca Cruisers build fundraiser
May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.
At the ripe age of 68, Jerry McClendon bought a hog.
"It's the freedom and the feel of riding on two wheels that fascinates so many people," he said about his reasons for buying a motorcycle.
At 74, he's racked up about 44,000 miles on it and is a member of a bike club named the Cruisers. The club is the philanthropic organization that created Cruise Fest as a way to help make living in Calhoun County easier for those in need.
The eighth annual Cruise Fest is Friday and Saturday in Port Lavaca and will raise money to give to organizations and families in the area.
"One-hundred percent of what we do stays in Calhoun County," said McClendon.
Cruisers President Ted Allred said the group started working in the community as a way to help low-income families and individuals.
"We got together to raise money for school supplies, clothes and shoes for students whose families couldn't afford it," he said.
Since it started, Cruise Fest has raised more than $70,000 for families in the area, he said. But the group doesn't limit the generosity to school-age children, Allred said, it also makes donations to the area food bank, senior citizen homes and emergency organizations for those who have suffered losses through house fires or other tragedies.
Money raised will come from raffles, motorcycle and car entry fees for the weekend shows and fun runs.
Friday afternoon festivities include a get-together with live music and food, said Allred. The Majestics will take the stage at the free event, and there will be food vendors on site at the bayfront peninsula.
The motorcycle fun run Saturday is a long-standing tradition for Cruise Fest and will cover about 90 miles in Calhoun County. The cars - most of which are classics or rat rods - will only have an 8- to 10-mile course, said McClendon.
"Most of these cars, they don't want to take on the highway, so we'll have a fun run in Port Lavaca for them," he said.
He estimates there will be about 50 cars and anywhere from 125 to 175 motorcycles at the event. The bayfront peninsula will host a spectacle of tricked-out rides and thundering motorcycles.
Allred, who's been riding most of his life, refers to the act of riding as therapy on wheels. Riding motorcycles puts him out in the elements where there are sights, smells and the feel of wind blowing on his face. The camaraderie between bike owners - especially Harley riders - is unbeatable, he said.
"We don't get to ride as much as we used to, but at least we have Cruise Fest every year to raise money for the families and children," he said. "That's our most important thing.