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CALABASH—The steady wind blowing Friday afternoon made it too cold for motorcycles, but provided a good reason to be indoors for the STR 8 GAS Bike Club’s Christmas party at the Calabash VFW building.
Club members usually ride in their black leather vests, but with four days until Christmas they wore them to play Santa’s helpers.
Club members often ride for a reason, having fundraisers for sick, disabled or injured community members.
For Christmas they collected $200 to donate to Word of Life Outreach of Cape Fear’s Links of Love program.
“If a family is going through hard times, we’ll do something for the family so the proceeds go to the family,” said club president Chuckie Thompson, who also works for Brunswick County Parks and Recreation. “We’ve worked with kids’ groups, seniors, veterans and domestic violence groups.”
Word of Life representatives Aldrina Johnson, Michael Hill and Chris Freeman stopped by the VFW hall while decorations were being hung to receive the check, which paid for Christmas gifts for kids who participate in the program.
Johnson said Links of Love, which is based in Leland, primarily focuses on youth programs like feeding students during summers when they when they don’t have access to school breakfast and lunch programs, working with suspended students and offering behavioral programs for children and adults.
The bike club donation was to cover the cost of a Christmas gift for some of the 75 kids in the Word of Life program.
Club members try to sponsor an event every season. Links of Love was their Christmas project, but the club also brought a flatbed truck, street bikes and four-wheelers to ride in the Shallotte Christmas parade.
They also had a Halloween party in October and a back-to-school fundraiser to support Cedar Grove Middle School in August.
“We’re active all year round,” Corey Gore, bike club vice president, said. “We’re affiliated with other clubs. It’s not organized but we join each other for bike runs and fundraisers.”
Gore said there are 10 or more bike clubs in the area including affiliates like Big Shots and Drastic Riders in Brunswick County and Millennium out of Wilmington.
STR 8 GAS formed on May 14, 2011, after Thompson, Gore and Treasurer Tyrone McCoy decided after years of riding with other bike clubs in the area, they wanted one of their own.
They started with nine members and have since grown to 35. Most members are family or friends. No one has to ride a motorcycle to join, but most members do.
“Our whole group is a family. That’s why it’s a bike club and not a motorcycle club,” Thompson said.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.