Bikers get ready to roll out for the poker run during the 9th Annual Brittney Ride Event for St. Jude.
It would be easy to crawl up and die inside after the death of a child. There can be no greater pain. But instead of letting the loss of Brittney’s life to a brain tumor destroy her, Dayle Mallory-Bell honors her daughter’s name, fighting to ensure that no other parents have to suffer the same devastation she did. Dayle has organized a yearly benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in her daughter’s name over the last nine years, the Brittney Ride raising over $640,000 to help in the battle against childhood diseases, and according to Mallory-Bell, the 2012 event was “The biggest year so far.”
Approximately 350 people showed up to support the 9th annual Brittney Mallory Ride with big hearts and open pocket books as early projections put the total raised this year in the $47,000 range. With Motorcycle Superstore stepping up as title sponsor backed by the efforts of D&S Harley-Davidson, the convention center at host Seven Feathers Casino Resort was packed last weekend for a fun day of friendship and fellowship.
It kicked into high gear with the annual poker run Saturday morning, a 60-mile jaunt through Oregon’s scenic Umpqua Valley. Early morning mist clung to the mountains after a shower passed through the night before. The air was filled with the sweet scent of the first rain in almost 90 days, burnt oranges and yellows of the tree’s leaves the initial signs of fall. Riders rambled past rural ranches and old barns as the road cut its swath through pine-covered mountains. Participants pulled cards at stops like the rustic Fortune Branch Market and the site of The Big Slide of 1890 along Cow Creek, hoping to draw the best hand of the day. In the end, a solid four queens beat out a full house for top honors and the $500 gift certificate to D&S Harley-Davidson that went to the best hand.
(L) Heads or Tails? When it came down to the last two competitors, she became a little conflicted. (M) Blind Lion, who we saw play in Sturgis not long ago, performed a rockin’ set at the 2012 Brittney Ride. (R) As the night wore on, the fun levels increased.
As riders returned to Seven Feathers, the rocking sounds of Blind Lion jamming onstage filled the convention center. The D&S Dynojet was busy outside as riders drove up the ramp to see what type of power numbers their rides were putting to the rear wheel as a Honda VTX1800 edged out all the Harleys to win the horsepower and torque contest. Inside, people hustled around the tables of the silent auction, bidding on items like Harley t-shirts from around the world, gift baskets, plaques painted by children with words of inspiration, and winter trips to resorts like Lake of the Woods and a snowmobile package at Diamond Lake. A live auction created a buzz later that afternoon as people bid on guitars signed by Peter Frampton, Heart, Foreigner and other famous musicians. Other popular items included gift baskets with tickets to Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beaver games, both teams enjoying successful seasons as both are ranked in college football’s top ten. Motorcycle Superstore’s Kim Howard was all smiles after she won the auction for the Oregon State Beavers package.
Inside the convention center, Mark Daley of ThunderStruck Custom Bikes brought over a bevy of custom bikes for attendees to lust over, including the motorcycle he recently
Dayle Mallory-Bell gives thanks to the many people and businesses like the Motorcycle Superstore that help make the Brittney Ride possible.
Dayle, St. Jude rep Alyssa King and Dan, the motivating forces behind the benefit ride, gather for a group picture.
took to Las Vegas for the Artistry in Iron competition. Seven Feathers had its own collection of vintage Indian Motorcycles on display as well, from turn-of-the-century bikes to an immaculate sidecar-equipped Indian.
The fun meter clicked up a notch that evening as people gathered for a wonderful catered dinner followed by 50/50 raffles, the “Heads or Tails” game, and dancing to the sounds of the funky TOB band. It was entertaining watching how many people could cram themselves into the fair-style photo booth, everybody decked out in hats and feather boas as they selected from a table full of photo props. The unexpected hit of the night though were the Motorcycle Superstore squirt guns provided in everybody’s gift bag which prompted widespread water gun wars as the party waged through the evening. The best part is, every dollar raised goes to the cause as we strive to eradicate childhood diseases. Another highlight was the news that Dayle’s daughter Jessi, 28, is having her first baby, making Dayle a grandmother for the first time. Though one soul has left her life, another one is about to enter and hopefully will help fill the void.
The benevolence of bikers never ceases to amaze me. Despite their gruff exterior, motorcyclists have some of the biggest hearts around and never hesitate to step up to support a cause. Though Brittney couldn’t be with us in body, there’s no denying her spirit filled the building during the ninth annual benefit in her honor.