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Freedom first: Motorcycle group to host 3rd annual Bike Show and Fundraiser

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Freedom First Riders of Alexandria is hosting its 3rd annual Bike Show and Fundraiser next weekend.

The event will take place Saturday, April 10 beginning at 11 a.m. at Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria.

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Freedom First Riders is the Alexandria chapter of American Bikers for Training and Education (A.B.A.T.E.).

Ken "Murph" Murphy, membership and retention chair, and Chris Thomas, vice president of the organization, are excited about this year's event.

The show has grown in the last two years, which is why the organization had to look for a new place to host the event.

Carlos Creek Winery seemed to be the perfect fit, according to the organizers, who noted they are expecting to double last year's attendance.

The bike show will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an awards ceremony after.

All bikes are welcome to enter the bike show, which will feature five different classes - stock, metric, custom, vintage and rat/rad, said Murphy.

One special trophy that will be awarded is the Rick Klimek Memorial Trophy for the best of show for the top motorcycle.

The winner will be chosen based on 100 percent of people's choice, said Thomas, who explained that when people come to the event, they will be given a ballot to fill out.

There will also be a live auction and a silent auction.

From 8 p.m. to midnight, there will be a dance featuring the sounds of Whiplash. The bike show and fundraiser, along with the dance are open to the public. The cost to attend is $5. Kids aged 12 and younger are free.

"We really want to make this a family event," said Thomas. "And we want to promote motorcycle awareness and education."

There will be five dealers who will be showcasing the new 2010 models, including RB Specialties, Apol's Harley Davidson, Ollie's Service, Woodsmen Power Products and Paul's Small Engine.

In addition, there will be other vendors on hand, including DLC Cycles from Perham, L & M Trikes from Glenwood and Annova Trailers from Alexandria, to name a few.

Carlos Creek Winery will have wine tasting that day as well, noted Murphy. And there will be food available, catered by Depot Express.

Shuttle service will also be provided.

For more information, visit the Freedom First Riders website at www.freedomfirstridersabatemn.org.

What is Freedom First Riders?

Freedom First Riders is a not-for-profit organization.

"It's not a club or a gang," noted Murphy.

He explained that it is the Alexandria chapter of American Bikers for Training and Education (A.B.A.T.E.) and that it is in its fourth year of existence.

Currently, the organization has close to 300 members representing the cities of Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Wadena, Battle Lake and Parkers Prairie, to name a few.

Because there was a large interest in this area, Thomas said several members, who at the time belonged to the chapter from Sedan, contacted the state organization to see if a chapter could be formed in Alexandria.

They were given the go-ahead and in 2006, Freedom First Riders was formed.

Since that time, the biker organization has been involved in the community by participating in the Habitat for Humanity motorcycle ride, a motorcycle ride organized by Pete's County Market and United Way, the Buddy Bear program and several others.

Murphy explained that the Freedom First Riders purchase teddy bears for the Buddy Bear program and give them to law enforcement and emergency personnel to hand out to children who are involved in some type of traumatic situation.

"It gives us that warm fuzzy feeling to be able to help out in those situations," Murphy said.

Another program the organization is involved with is the Dial-A-Ride program, noted Thomas.

He explained that the program is simple - if motorcyclists have been riding and had a few drinks and are incapable of driving, they can call the Dial-A-Ride number for a free ride home.

Someone will come to the location with the Dial-A-Ride trailer and bring the motorcycle and its rider home - for free.

The local program, which runs from April through October, is sponsored by Pete's County Market, Woodsman Power Products, Klimek Brothers Well Drilling and Annova Trailer Sales.

"We are trying to promote responsibility," said Thomas.

The taglines used for Dial-A-Ride include the likes of "Bottles and Throttles Don't Mix" and "Swallow Your Pride, Call for a Ride."

Freedom First Riders is also involved with the Adopt-A-Highway Program and takes care of a two-mile stretch of road near Miltona.

To learn more about this organization, to become a member or for other questions, call "Murph" at (320) 760-0509 or visit the Freedom First Riders website at www.freedomfirstridersabatemn.org.

WHAT IS A.B.A.T.E.?

A.B.A.T.E. of Minnesota is a not-for-profit, grass-roots organization that is committed to educating motorcyclists and the general public about motorcycling. A.B.A.T.E. feels that all riders, from the street rider, to the off-road fan, to a non-rider with a strong interest in cycling, should have an opportunity to unite and become part of a strong motorcycle organization.

For more information on A.B.A.T.E., visit its website at www.abatemn.org.

FREEDOM

FIRST RIDERS

The mission statement of Freedom First Riders is to work together as the 26th chapter of American Bikers for Training and Education (A.B.A.T.E.). It will continually and aggressively protect bikers' rights, while providing safety and awareness education to all. It will also have some fun while accomplishing it's mission. Expect the unexpected.

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