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Legion Riders hold Blessing of the Bikes, Fun Run

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Brian Knight, pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Dollar Bay, delivers the Blessing of the Bikes at the start of the American Legion Riders’ Fun Run in Lake Linden Saturday. The $20 registration fee funds charity efforts throughout the year.

LAKE LINDEN — Dozens of riders traveled across the Keweenaw for a good cause Saturday as part of the annual American Legion Riders Bike Blessing and Fun Run.

Riders pay a $20 registration fee, which pays for things such as veteran funerals or to help people recovering from a crash.

The group met up Saturday at Post 90 in Lake Linden, where Brian Knight, pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Dollar Bay, delivered the Blessing of the Bikes.

Knight told the riders he understands the value of the event, both in bringing them together and what it does for the community.

“I understand the fact that for almost all of us, we’ve had a year and a half of not being together, and there’s something really sweet about saying ‘We’re done with that,'” he said. “I appreciate the fact that you guys are doing this in a good way, to accomplish great things. I appreciate that. Supporting our veterans is so important.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette American Legion Riders set off on a Fun Run after the Blessing of the Bikes Saturday, which finished at the Maple Leaf in Bootjack.

A rider himself, Knight knows how it helps to block out the outside world and think. He told the riders to focus Saturday on what it means to be “blessed.” He contrasted short-term gains, such as wealth or career opportunities, with eternal blessings.

“In the simplest terms, what it means is to be under the honor of the Lord, the protection of the Lord,” he said, raising his voice to project over a motorcycle pulling in. (He’s well-practiced at having to talk over the sound of a passing Harley when the church windows are open, he said.)

Knight led the riders in a prayer to keep the rain away, bless their fellowship and their community efforts.

Bill Bessner of Calumet has been part of the ride for the past 10 years. He was heading to South Range before Cliff View, Schmidt’s Corner, Calmet and returning to the Maple Leaf in Bootjack, which hosted a cookout for riders at the end of the day.

“Everybody gets together, and we have a great time,” he said.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette American Legion Riders set off on a Fun Run after the Blessing of the Bikes Saturday, which finished at the Maple Leaf in Bootjack.

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