Bike event raises about $20,000 in Martinsburg

July 18, 2005|by DON AINES

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - What was left of several hundred pounds of coleslaw mixed Saturday was starting to stink as the temperature climbed to the mid-90s Sunday afternoon, but it had by no means gone to waste.

"The coleslaw really brought in the cabbage," said Jeff Wilkins, president of the American Justice Freedom Riders Motorcycle Club. "The crowd threw $180 into the pit."

The night before, the cabbage - chopped with a wood chipper and doused with gallons of vegetable oil - proved a potent draw at the second annual Motorcycle Mania Bike Week. Wilkins said a few thousand people gathered around the hay bales that separated them from the salad to watch women - and at least one man - get tossed around the pit.


William Clark, vice president of the club, said Motorcycle Mania earned a lot of lettuce for area charities, about $20,000. That was up from about $13,000 during the inaugural event last summer.

Benefiting charities include the Boys and Girls Club of Martinsburg, the American Cancer Society, the Shenandoah Women's Shelter, The Wounded Warrior Hospital Fund and others, Clark said.

Many of the 60 vendors were packing up Sunday afternoon as the event wound down in the 169-acre field behind the Nahkeeta Campsite east of Martinsburg.

During the four-day event, there were plenty of activities for people to see and do, including the tattoo and wet T-shirt contests Friday and the bikini contest and coleslaw wrestling Saturday.

Vendor Bill Ward of Wild Bill's Custom Arts Pinstriping & Lettering complimented Wilkins for keeping the adult events in an area restricted from children. The Charlotte, N.C., man said he attends 37 rallies a year and Motorcycle Mania has the potential to become a major event.

Despite a feeding tube in his stomach and another in his chest to deliver chemotherapy drugs for his cancer, 64-year-old Ray Miller of Martinsburg showed off his talent for riding a motorcycle backward.

"I kept this a secret from my students for 30 years. I wouldn't want them to try it," said Miller, who still works as a substitute teacher.

One disappointment was the weather, Wilkins said. The days and nights were hot and humid and a thunderstorm hit Saturday night, sending people scattering.

A Sunday motorcycle rodeo was canceled due in part to the heat, he said.

Some rodeo events were held Saturday, including a burnout contest in which riders competed to see who could burn the most rubber.

"One guy blew out his tire on it and we gave him a trophy," Wilkinson said, adding the tire probably cost $300 while the statuette was worth about $15.

In the weenie bike contest, hot dogs were suspended by a string as riders drove beneath and tried to bite off the biggest chunk, Wilkins said.

Members of the Highsiders Motorcycle Club were trying to keep cool under the shade of a tent while a couple of members were getting their bikes detailed by a vendor. The group had ridden 50 miles from Fayetteville, Pa.

"Mainly we go on Sunday rides," said member Lynn Brookens. "This is just a hangout day."

Despite the live bands, beer and some bawdy contests, Jamie Dunn of Lambert's Ambulance Service said there were few problems, just minor cuts, burns and people treated for heat exhaustion.

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