OTTUMWA — The local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association could not have ordered a more perfect day for Run for the Son 2014.
With the sun shining bright and engines roaring, motorcyclists from Ottumwa and many surrounding communities began the first leg of the annual ride Saturday morning. The fundraiser and time of fellowship supports several national and international missions, as well as local CMA chapters.
Riders from Bloomfield, Pulaski, Centerville, Moravia, Keosauqua and several other towns gathered in the Riverside Restaurant parking lot bright and early to pray for safe travels and opportunities to witness. With kickstands up at 8:30 a.m., they met up with more motorcyclists in Mt. Pleasant before heading to Burlington for a large gathering of riders from across southeast Iowa.
"We'll meet up in Crapo Park for a blessing of the bikes, along with ABATE and other local groups," explained Gary O., also known as Sidecar Gary, the chapter president. "We'll do individual blessings over the riders, asking for safe travel this riding season."
On Saturday, motorcyclists from all over the United States and Canada participated in the 26th annual Run for the Son. Their goal through this fundraising effort is to spread the light of Jesus around the world as a result of the work leading up to the ride. That's why it wasn't difficult to be ready to ride at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
"It's a mission — the members of CMA are our mission," Gary said. "We want to reflect the light of Jesus Christ. That's why we're here."
Riders participating in the event raised money by seeking sponsors, much like a walk-a-thon would, so the joint efforts of thousands of motorcyclists come together. In addition, from 11 a.m. to noon, CMA members from all around the country will be praying for the mission and the nation in their respective gatherings. So when the group from southeast Iowa begins praying in Burlington, their prayers will join those from across the United States and around the world.