CHARLESTON, W.Va.– Thousands of bikers are in Charleston this weekend for the annual Biker Bash taking place at Haddad Riverfront Park.
Every year Kanawha Boulevard is shut down for bikers to attend one of the largest free motorcycle rallies in West Virginia. Bikers rolled in Thursday night and have been enjoying the weekend so far.
Spread along the Boulevard is tents filled with food, drinks and merchandise.
PJ “Big Dog” Johnson is the president of the Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club of the Kanawha Valley and said that the event is great for bikers.
“It gives the motorcycle clubs a chance to let everybody know what they’re all about,” he said. “Most motorcycle clubs do fundraisers for charities and help children, and, you know, our club specializes in helping burned children. You know, we’re a national club, a nationwide club, and we’re the only chapter in West Virginia. It gives us an opportunity to let people know what we’re all about.”
Biker clubs tend to get a bad reputation from things that people see in TV and on movies like drugs and alcohol; however, Johnson said that’s not that case.
“Motorcycle clubs are not bad you know. They watch TV and they see what goes on TV,” he said. “We’re firefighters. I mean we fight fires, we save lives and then we like to ride motorcycles, so we kind of put that together.”
Johnson said that he and the rest of the group helped to start this chapter of Brother’s Keepers, and that everything is going very well for them.
Another biker club present at Biker Bash is Bikers Against Child Abuse. “Giggles” is the treasurer of the group and works to protect children from harm.
“We get referrals for abused children, and then we bring them into our family,” she said. “Our mission is to empower them to not be afraid of the world in which they live, and we do that simply by showing up and letting them know there’s somebody that’s got their back. We go to court with them if they have an active court case. If they’re scared at night and can’t sleep, then we will camp out in their yard– which we have done; anything to just empower them.”
Giggles said that Biker Bash is a great time for Bikers Against Child Abuse.
“Biker Bash just gives us a chance to interact with the biker community, of course we would love to get some more supporter members to join in our fight against child abuse, but to just gain support is a good thing to and to get the word out,” she said.
Giggles said that working within Bikers Against Child Abuse is one of the most rewarding things she’s done.
Biker Bash will continue through Friday and into Saturday morning with the annual bike ride leaving at 10 a.m.
Story by Jordyn Johnson