Some of you who have been following my blog know who and what the Blue Knights are, particularly those in Law Enforcement. Others may have some idea, and if you’ve been following me, you know that Blue Knights is a Law Enforcement Motorcycle club. What many may not know is how wide-spread we are or the history of the Blue Knights.
The following comes from the blue knights.org website: “The BLUE KNIGHTS® is a non-profit fraternal organization consisting of active and retired law enforcement men & women who enjoy riding motorcycles.
In the Spring of 1974, several law enforcement officers* from the Bangor, Maine (USA) area met and and formed a small, local motorcycle club. The rest, as they say, is history.
Soon, Blue Knight chapters were being formed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and beyond. With the addition of Canada, and later Australia, the Blue Knights became an international organization.
*Our Founding Fathers are: Joel Rudom, Bill Robinson, Doug Miner, Ed Gallant, Mike Hall, Chuck Gesner, Wayne Labree, Chuck Shuman
As of 1 June 2009, we have 599 chapters and almost 20,000 members in 29 countries.
According to the By-Laws, our purposes and goals are to:
1. Provide for the mutual assistance, enjoyment, entertainment, education, physical, mental and social benefit of its members and the general public.
2. To promote and advance the sport of motorcycling and the safety of motorcycling.
3. To serve the interests of motorcycle owners and users.
4. To promote by example and any other acceptable means, safe use, operation and enjoyment of motorcycles.
5. To develop a fraternal spirit between law enforcement personnel and the general public.
Many Blue Knights work long and hard to raise money for various charities. Especially near to our hearts is helping children. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Toys for Tots, D.A.R.E., and Concerns of Police Survivors are some examples of our favorites.
As of 31 July 2009 Blue Knights have donated to numerous charities; contributing time in the amount of $4,092,292.00, goods with an estimated value of $631,217.24 and $6,921,532.87 in cash for a total of $11,645,042.11 (USD)
We're the good guys!
The Blue Knights is a family fraternity. Spouses and children often accompany our members to the various rides and functions. When travelling, local members can provide assistance, directions and sometimes a place to stay. We are truly a family.
Among the Blue Knight members, "There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met." “
My Chapter, Nebraska I, was chartered in 1985 at Grand Island and has about 45 members. Nebraska I is in the Midwest Regional Conference (MWRC) which is made up of 45 chapters from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South and North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada. The MWRC has about 920 members.
I joined Nebraska I in 1992. At the time, I was riding a 1980 Kawasaki 750 LTD. I mostly rode it around the Beatrice area. I made frequent trips to Lincoln and in the summer, to Sunset Speedway in Omaha. As I rode down the highway, I’d meet riders on Gold Wings and Ultra Classics and I would tell myself that some day I’d have a big bike.
In the late summer of 1992, I saw an advertisement for a farm sale north of Friend, Nebraska. One of the items on the auction was a 1981 Gold Wing Interstate with less than 19,000 miles. I ended up being high bidder on that Gold Wing and drove it home that evening.
I attended my first MWRC in June 1993 at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I had no idea of the makeup of the Blue Knights at the time. Except for a couple of hours layover in Wichita waiting out thunderstorms and then running through a real gully-washer prior to hitting the Cimarron Turnpike, the trip was a great one and I was hooked.
In the time since, I’ve had a 1984 Interstate that we put 73,000 miles on, a 1987 Kawasaki voyager that we put 15,000 miles on and our current ride, a 2006 GL1800 Gold Wing that we’ve put over 25,000 miles on since we picked it up from the showroom in July of 2006.
We’ve made trips to Spokane, Washington and Las Vegas Nevada for Blue Knights functions. We’ve been to Blue Knights functions in Oklahoma City, Broken Arrow, Tulsa and Bartlesville, Oklahoma; St Joe, Springfield and Branson, MO, Ft Scott, Kansas City and Hiawatha, KS; Des Moines, Spirit Lake and Davenport, IA; Egan and Shakopee, MN; Grand Forks and Minot, N.D.; and Sturgis, S.D. We also try to ride to Colorado in the summer to spend time with Heather & Dana and now Landon, and do some riding in the mountains. A great ride is taking Hwy 34 from Loveland to Estes Park. All the turns along the Big Thompson River are a blast! Leaving Estes Park to go back toward Loveland; Hwy 7 toward Lyons is 24 miles of breathtaking scenery with plenty of twists and turns.
Once the riding season gets under way, we just like to get on the Gold Wing and go. With work schedules being what they are, that is sometime hard to do. I try to schedule supper rides out of Beatrice on a weekly basis for riders in and close to Beatrice. One such ride was just a jaunt to Odell, 20 miles south of Beatrice. When we were done eating, we took a side trip and ended up at the Rock Creek Station for a little history lesson.
Just getting out and riding is an experience in itself. The trip to the Spring MWRC is usually the first long ride of the season. The smells of fresh cut alfalfa and clover as well as the wildflowers is in the air. You don’t usually notice that riding in a car. Of course, get too close to a feed yard or similar facility and you’ll get smells you’d rather not smell.
The feel of the warm sun is great and not the same as feeling it through the car windows.
How many of you have taken a 600 mile round trip to have a few burgers and a couple of beers? I’ve made a couple of trips from Beatrice to Burlington, Colorado to a barbecue with some Blue Knights from Colorado. Nebraska I makes an annual trip to western Nebraska just to meet up with other Blue Knights, share a couple of meals and have a few drinks. There are no strangers in Blue Knights, just friends you haven’t met yet.
Warm weather in the area had greatly diminished our snow banks and I can see you back yard in places! Maybe the snow will be gone in time for the USMTS show at McCool Junction. If all goes well, that will be my first race of the season. Two weeks later, on March 19th & 20th, Beatrice will host the Spring Nationals. Factory stocks will share the show on the 19th with Modifieds, Sport Mods and Hobby Stocks. The Saturday show will be Modifieds, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks and Sport Compacts.
The race car show at Beatrice, sponsored by Women for Racing, will be on Saturday, April 10th and will be followed by Test-N-Tune. The regular season will start the following week, Friday April 16th. Regular night shows will consist of IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Mods, IMCA Hobby Stocks, IMCA Sport Compacts and Factory Stocks.
On April 10th, Eagle Raceway will kick off their season with their annual Icebreaker Challenge hosting Sprint cars, IMCA Modifieds, hobby stocks and sport compacts.
I-80 Speedway at Greenwood, NE has their schedule up on their website. It shows opening night as Saturday March 27th with Late Models, Pro Ams, Compacts, Modifieds and sport mods. I-80 will also have NASCAR sanctioning.
The regular season for Junction Motor Speedway at McCool Junction will kick off the night after Beatrice’s opening night, April 18th. JMS will once again be NASCAR sanctioned. They are also scheduled to hold a World of Outlaws Sprint Car show on June 25th. The last weekly show of 2010 will be September 11th.
There you have it, “brief” rundown on my two biggest hobbies. Now if only Mother Nature will cooperate so I can participate in both.