Born to ride: Local group practices civic action

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 12, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Defying biker stereotypes, the Selma Riders strive to make the Queen City a better place for all.

Yes, they dress in the typical biker attire of dark shades, and black leather jackets and chaps and blue denim. And yes, Suzukis, Kawasakis and Harley Davidsons are their vehicles of choice. But underneath this tough image lays a group of giving, caring hearts.

“Are we a civic group? Yes. But we’re also motorcycle riders,” said Selma Riders President Max Tezanos.

This holiday season, the Selma Riders are raising funds for its toy drive, a project for the United Children’s Methodist Home. Tezanos said the organization has garnered $800 thus far and is $700 away from reaching its goal of $1500.

“We’re raising money for every child at the Children’s Methodist Home so we’re able to get everything on that wish list for the kids,” Tezanos said. “They’re gung ho about it.”

Judy Manning, campus director of the United Children’s Methodist Home, said the Selma Riders have been conducting the toy drive for the past six years and is one of highlights of the year for the children.

“We think it’s pretty fantastic what they do,” Manning said. “We are just blessed to have them.”

Manning said in addition to the toy drive, the Selma Riders take time to sit down and “get to know the kids on a personal level.” The children may even get the chance to ride on a motorcycle with one of the riders if they get permission from their guardian.

“It’s funny to see some of our toughest kids screaming on the motorcycle and then see the kids with the massive grins,” Manning said.

Tezanos said since the organization bears the city’s name, they make it a point to do good deeds for Selma.

“We want to raise charity for Selma. We want to do events for Selma,” Tezanos said.

Since its founding, the Selma Riders have raised money for AIDS prevention and breast cancer prevention. The organization also held a fundraiser for Selmian Cory Blackmon, who succumbed to leukemia in March.

Between events, the Selma Riders always find time to hit the open road. Tezanos said they try to ride every Sunday afternoon and members range from 20-to-50-years-old.

The next Selma Riders event will be its annual Polar Bear Ride on New Year’s Day. Tezanos said almost nothing keeps them away from the highway.

“We ride no matter how cold it is as long as it’s not raining,” he said.