The Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) has rumbled back to Polk County, in case you missed the reverberation of the engines and the bright yellow vests worn by the riders as they cruise the scenic byways or bring in a lot of business for local stores and restaurants. Motorcyclists routing the Ouachitas is nothing new. It occurs year-round, but when the CMA hits town, there’s a noticeable difference, and in a positive way.
Founded by Herb Shreve in 1975, CMA was founded in Phoenix, Arizona. Only five years later, in 1980, the CMA had chapters across the country in every state.
According to the official website, cmausa.org, “The original brainstorm for such an organization occurred in 1972 when Herb Shreve and his teenage son purchased their first motorcycles. It was not until 1974 when the need for a new organization began to be realized. Herb attended his first motorcycle rally and saw a massive crowd of motorcyclists who did not know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.” The purpose of CMA, being evangelical in nature, was to reach out to motorcyclists and preach to them.
Now, 50 years later, the thunderous roar of thousands of motorcycles can be heard around the county as the CMA welcomes approximately 3,000 of its members from across the world to the 46th Annual Changing of the Colors Rally held at their international headquarters on Iron Mountain in Hatfield, Arkansas.
Festivities begin Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Iron Mountain and continue through Sunday, Oct. 24. The event is open to the public and registration is complimentary to Polk County residents who are not members of CMA.
Activities include nightly revival services for adults that include times of worship, testimony, prayer, and learning, along with plenty of riding and fellowship.
Each evening, children, ages 4-12, can participate in the Kidz for Christ group, which includes puppets, singing, and fun biblical learning.
Youth, ages 12-18, can join in the Youth Movement and enjoy activities such as musical routines, talent shows, and learning how to walk with Christ.
There will also be vendors, seminars, and nightly fundraisers with proceeds benefiting local charities.
Weather-permitting (only a slight chance of precipitation forecast as we go to press), the motorcycle parade will depart Iron Mountain and make its way up 71-N to Mena. The main route will proceed to Mena St., where, if like previous years, hundreds of colorful bikes will turn and head to Maple Ave. (see map on p.18). There will be games and plenty of machines to check out or take photos of if you enjoy motorcycles. In addition, speaking with the members is always interesting, discovering that some will fly from a country such as Germany, land in California or New York to visit friends or family, then ride their motorcycles the great distance to Polk County, Arkansas to take in the beauty of the area and hold fellowship with their fellow members.