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Bike blessing promotes safety, aids Mission

May. 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- When it comes to riding motorcycles as the summer riding season approaches, it can't hurt to have a little divine intervention.

That was the purpose of the third annual Blessing of the Bikes event Saturday at Beard Mortuary in Huntington.

Jason Thompson, who worked at the funeral home several years ago, helped get the first event started. "A number of people here rode bikes," he said Saturday. "The point is to kick off the riding season and think about safety."

It also serves as a fundraiser for the Huntington City Mission, said Shane Ritchie, mortuary licensee.

"It's a way to give back to the community," he said.

The Rev. Jim Sobus was on hand to bless each motorcycle individually before the riders took off for a short ride up W.Va. 2 followed by a cookout.

Mike and Cheryl Smith of Huntington have been to all three bike blessings.

"We come to get the bikes blessed," Cheryl Smith said. "We love riding. We enjoy the freedom. We're members of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Chapter C. We travel all over. We got into this because we wanted something to do together."

"I pray we have a safe journey when we travel," she said. "I feel God does watch over us."

James Hudson of Huntington rides his motorcycle year-round. He was attending his first bike blessing.

"I've been riding for 15 years," Hudson said. "You're one with the road. It makes you feel free."

He also knows people on motorcycles also have to be more observant for their own safety.

Sobus doesn't ride motorcycles anymore, but often gets requests to bless bikes.

"A number of them will stop by the church," he said. "A number of them will ask for a blessing when they get a new bike. We also have people to have their houses blessed. You get to meet some wonderful people at times like these."

He sprinkled holy water on the bikes and asked for the intercession of St. Michael to protect the riders and for God to allow them to enjoy safety.

Terry "T-Bear" Berry of Lesage, had a good reason to ask for a little help. He often rides with his 7-year-old daughter, Casey.

"I've been riding for 30 years," Berry said. "I ride year-round."

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