MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- More than 300 military members, along with family and guests, gathered at the main exchange parking lot during a motorcycle safety rodeo here April 24.
Colonel Carlos Hollifield, assistant chief of staff for Installation Safety and Security, in conjunction with the Single Marine Program, came up with the idea for the rodeo which included a motorcycle competition and booths designed to educate participants on motorcycle safety.
“We want to convey safety initiatives and embrace the motorcycle riders,” said Gunnery Sgt. Hugo Valentin, ground safety officer for ISS. “The rodeo is also part mentorship program which will make it possible for older riders to interact with younger riders.”
Instructors from the Military Motorcycle Operator’s Course from Camp Johnson and the Coastal Carolina Motorcycle Safety Foundation were on hand to convey safety initiatives.
“You will have to go through one of these organizations to become a certified motorcycle operator,” said Valentin. “Once certified, you can get your motorcycle registered on base.”
The Jacksonville chapter of the Light Keepers, a Christian motorcyclist association, was on-hand to provide first aid and water.
“The whole idea is being there to help people who have a need,” said Rick Crabb, a Light Keeper. “Anytime there is a gathering of bikers, we try to be there.”
Rolling Thunder’s North Carolina Chapter 5 was also on-hand to show their support for military members and their families. The organization is a veterans support group that focuses on prisoners of war and veterans missing in action.
“Rolling Thunder is not a motorcycle club,” said Hollifield, a native of Morristown, Tenn. “It is a service organization that advocates taking care of veterans.”
Sergeant Jeffrey T. Jones, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2d Force Service Support Group, was the big winner of the day as his Harley Davidson took 1st place in the cruiser portion of the competition and best overall in the show.
“I heard about the show from a friend,” said the Columbus, Ohio native. “I’m surprised I won.”