God has a way of exceeding our expectations, and He certainly did on Sunday, April 25, at the second annual Motor Officer Bike Blessing and Rodeo, held at Rendezvous Leather in Uxbridge, Mass. The weather forecast that day called for rain, and not long after we had set up tents and marked the bike competition course by mid-morning, the raindrops fell and people took cover. It looked like the event was going to be a washout. But God had bigger plans: a total of six people made decisions to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior - including four police officers!
My brothers and sisters in the Christian Motorcyclists Association rejoiced at the news. It made all the planning, long hours and sacrifice worth it - even if just one person received God's gift of salvation.
"These blessings really give me a lift to keep on going," said Roland Caron, vice president of the Romans 8 Riders of CMA. "It's so easy to lose your momentum, because in my mind, I compared this to planning a wedding ... it takes so long and requires so much effort, and it's over in a flash in one day. But when you see the fruits of the effort ...."
About a dozen Massachusetts state and local police from various towns arrived on their department motorcycles around 11 a.m., lights flashing and sirens blaring, welcomed at the entrance by several people waving American flags. Members of several area CMA chapters - including my chapter, Romans 8 Riders; God's Posse; Kingdom Cruzers; Blood 'N' Fire Warriors; and Victorious Riders - split up to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ and bless the bikes of the officers, as well as civilians who rode to the event.
The rodeo showcases the bike-handling skills of the officers, who whip full-dress Harley Electra Glides through the tight slaloms, and ride them inside a circle of cones so tight they often scrape the floorboards. But the parking lot where the rodeo was held was wet from the rain, so the organizers decided to hold the bike games first, which are held on a dirt course. The games, which are a friendly competition between CMA members and officers, consist of a barrel push, slow race and riding on a string of 2" x 6" boards. I was one of the judges, and I have to admit I felt a bit awkward giving commands to the police officers riding their bikes up to the course.
Then the sun broke through around noon and dried the pavement, which allowed the rodeo to take place. A crowd of spectators watched the motor officer manuever their bikes around the cones, and a Hopedale, Mass., police officer tried to get Romans 8 Rider Andy Beaulieu to take his bulky Honda Goldwing around the tight circle.
"Put it on the floorboards, ride your way around, give it some throttle, and it'll stand up," said the officer, who made it sound simple ... in theory, anyway.
Amid the fun and games, many personal connections were formed. Romans 8 Riders chaplain Gene Snedeker and I joined our CMA sister Celine Songbird (sorry, I can't recall which chapter she's with) to bless the bike of a man named Rick, whose brother was having a difficult time following the death of his wife. Celine was able to offer prayers and encouragement for Rick's brother, because she experienced the loss of the spouse about four years ago.
Later in the day, I ended up making some new acquaintances by just asking some questions about a cool video camera I saw someone using. The couple, Jeff and Angela (she is president of Lakhota Riders, a riding club based in Stoughton, Mass.), have ridden through many parts of the U.S., including the Grand Canyon.
Bike season is just getting started, and I'm already getting stoked. You never know what God will do, but His plans are greater than ours.