BY JACLYN ROSE –
Arkansas Bikers Aiming Towards Education, otherwise known as A.B.A.T.E., is a statewide organization that has been educating Arkansans about motorcycle awareness for the last 30 years. Currently, there are twenty-one separate districts, with the, at least ten year old, Mena district being number six.
According to A.B.A.T.E., their organization serves to act as an information source concerning motorcyclist rights, issues and voter awareness, coordinate activities designed to protect individual rights of motorcyclists and sponsor motorcycle safety programs. A.B.A.T.E. works hard to create a positive image of both motorcyclists and motorcycling groups. Additionally, they are a group of philanthropists who hope to benefit the less fortunate in society through their work and charitable giving.
One of the ways that A.B.A.T.E. serves its community is by teaming up with the Marine Corps League for the Toys for Tots Drive. Across the state, different districts, including the local district, have begun to spread out jars around town to collect donations. On Saturday, December 5, 2015, there will be a ride beginning at the Pentecostal Church on Highway 71 South and driving through town to Rich Mountain Community College, where they will serve a chili luncheon. “Anyone can participate in the ride, whether you are on a motorcycle, an antique car, a regular car, this is not just for motorcycles. The only thing we ask is that everyone who rides brings one new and unwrapped toy, or a cash donation, the dollar value does not matter. The really good thing is that each gift, whether monetary or toys, are given as gifts to children right here in Polk County. We will collect all our donations and write a check to the Marine Corps League for Toys for Tots,” explained Jim Lange, current District 6 President. Those participating in the ride should arrive at the Pentecostal Church at 11 am, and “kickstands up” will be at noon. The chili lunch is at no cost, but donations are welcome. After the A.B.A.T.E. ride and luncheon, the Marine Corps League will host their telethon and the two groups will team up with the local Elks Lodge to distribute the gifts to needy children. Additionally, the local A.B.A.T.E. District will choose a family in need this Christmas and provide them with a Christmas meal. For those hoping to make a donation, there are jars set up at local business, or you can call Lang at 479.243.3037.
Once a year, A.B.A.T.E. Districts all over the state come together for a Circle the State Fundraiser that is open to all drivers, whether in a motorcycle or not. They also hold motorcycle safety courses in Little Rock. “This is a two day basic rider course that gets into the finer points of motorcycle safety. It is not just for beginners but also good for those who have been riding a long time. Anyone interested can call Sherry Wewers, State Office Manager at 501.317.1832. Additionally the local A.B.A.T.E. District works with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, a lobbyist group who represent motorcycle riders to Congress.