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American Legion Riders to host bike show during River Days

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By Pam Robinson

The American Legion Owen Dunn Post #5 in Mount Vernon is proud to announce the American Legion Riders’ Inaugural Benefit Bike Show on Saturday, Sept. 13, at the intersection of Third and Main Streets during River Days. All proceeds from the bike show will be donated to Operation Comfort Warrior, a program providing wounded soldiers with unfunded comfort items while they recover in medical-care facilities. Such items include loose-fitting athletic suits for burn victims or movies, puzzles and books for recovering military during down time in rehabilitation.
For their Sept. 13 event, the Legion Riders decided to invite all community riders to show off their big, bad bikes rather than put on a ride, like the National Legacy Ride. They hope the event will become an annual crowd-pleaser, drawing more participation than the typical bike ride in this area.
“The Legion Riders have chapters throughout the nation. They may participate in the National Legacy Ride from Indianapolis to Charlotte. The money raised on that annual ride is for scholarships to children of veterans killed after 9/11,” Laura Frisby, Mount Vernon Legion Riders’ Secretary, explains. “Each chapter can host other fundraising events and donate to organizations of their choice. Our Post 5 Chapter decided we were going to have a bike show rather than a ride.”
Registration for the bike show starts at 9:30 a.m. and lasts until noon on September 13. The registration fee is $10 per bike entered in the show. Show bikes must be ride-in only—no tow-ins. From noon to 2 p.m., knowledgeable judges will decide winners in three categories as well as “Best of Show.” The judges’ decisions are final.
The public will have an opportunity to vote for their favorite bike also with a $1 donation.  The bike with the most votes will receive the “People’s Choice Award.”  
 The bike show will generate a little friendly competition between local American Legion posts as well with the introduction of a traveling trophy challenge for American Legion Riders. When entering a bike in the show, an American Legion Rider must present declaration of membership either by membership card or vest patch. The post with the most participation in the show will take the traveling trophy home.
“We have placed a name and phone number on the bottom of the trophy to track the history over time. It will be interesting to see where it goes,” Frisby states.
After the event, bike show participants will line up to ride in the annual River Days’ parade, starting at 6 p.m., Saturday, September 13.
Chartered January 1, 2014, Mount Vernon’s American Legion Riders include 50 full members and several support members. The not-for-profit organization combines a love of riding motorcycles with a passion for respecting active service men and women and veterans.
“To join the Legion Riders as a full member, you must be a member of any American Legion Post as a Legionnaire, Son or Auxiliary current with dues and own a motorcycle. A legal spouse of a Legion Rider member can join as a full member, but must also be an American Legion Legionnaire, Son or Auxiliary current with dues,” Frisby states. “If you want to be a support member, you can join also although support members do not have a vote in decisions or meetings. This is so the organization is not controlled by a person or persons who do not understand the dynamics of riding.”
American Legion Riders in Mount Vernon meet at 6:30 p.m., the third Thursday of each month, at the American Legion Home on Second Street. Full member dues are $15 per year; support member dues, $10 per year.
“To me, being a part of the American Legion is great and it helps support the Legion, but being a Legion Rider gives me a chance to do a little more than just paying my dues to help support our veterans,” Frisby adds. “My husband and I think our veterans still do not get the respect they deserve. When we see someone who is in, or has been in, the service, we say, ‘thank you.’”
Frisby invites anyone who would like to support or sponsor the American Legion Riders’ Inaugural Benefit Bike Show to call her at (812) 781-9360 or Miles Duncan, a Legion supporter, at (812) 431-2664.