This I Believe

Terra - Springer, Oklahoma
Entered on December 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: prejudice

I believe in bikers. That’s right, those tattooed, leather-wearing, Harley-riding bikers. I have become acquainted with many members of the biker community and various clubs because my family owns an outdoor venue that hosts weddings, concerts, shows, rallies, etc. Our venue has become a regular place for bikers to congregate whether they are attending rallies, charity poker runs, or just stopping in to say “hello.”

Since I have met some of these men and women, my attitude towards them has changed immensely. I had never been around anyone who rode motorcycles and I was intimidated by them. I used to associate all bikers with the stereotypes society has pinned them with: wild and dangerous. However, this could not be more untrue. These are some of the greatest people that I have come to know. Bikers range from blue-collared men and women to doctors and lawyers. They ride for many different reasons. They ride for recreation because they enjoy the road, wind and nature. They ride for friends; there is brotherhood within clubs and organizations. They also ride for charity. They support a variety of them by raising money and taking donations. These charities include but are not limited to: Bikers Against Child Abuse, Relay for Life, Toys for Tots, Bikers for Babies, and Support the Troops.

My fist “real” encounter happened in May 2007. Our venue was the second stop on a poker run. For those unfamiliar with poker runs, it’s a trip made to several locations and a card is drawn at each to make up a poker hand. Just like poker, the best hand wins. The players pay to enter and if they win they donate the money to a charity. For this particular poker run, the money earned was for the Relay for Life, and my job was to deal the cards to the players. The bikers pulled up, it was loud and a bit intimidating with all of the leather and tattoos. However, they were not intimidating at all, but so fun, energetic, and excited about being out and raising money for charity. They were all eager to chat with me and give me a hard time. It was a new and exciting experience to meet new people and to help a great cause at the same time.

Through my encounters and experiences with these bikers, I have realized that I used to base my opinions on pre-conceived notions of the stereotype. I would form ideas and judge out of fear and ignorance. These bikers have taught me an important lesson. Though they may seem scary or intimidating in appearance, underneath they are just like the rest of us and many of them have hearts of gold. I have learned not to judge based on appearances or stereotypes because what is underneath is never what meets the eye. This is why I believe in bikers.