By Scott Meeker
Look at it this way, says Scott Watson, gesturing toward the grounds where the annual Choppers 4 Children Bike Rally and Music Fest will be held this weekend.
“You can sit at home and when someone asks what you did you can say, ‘Nothing,’” he said. “Or you can come out here and see things you won’t see anywhere else, listen to some great music, take a ride on a helicopter and a monster truck and see a guy do aerial stunts on a motorcycle.”
The grounds — located a mile south of Interstate 44 and Highway 43 — were being prepped Wednesday afternoon for the event, which kicks off today.
Activities will include live music, a bike show, bike games and free rides on a monster truck called the “Raminator.”
It’s the fifth year for Choppers 4 Children, which has raised more than $180,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.
Watson, the former county prosecutor for Newton County, said that his wife, Kathy, works as a coordinator for CMN and he had heard many of the stories of families in need. The idea for the bike rally was one that originated in 2004.
“I told her that I’d like to help,” he said. “Bake sales are great and they serve a great purpose. But I wanted to do something different.”
The first Choppers 4 Children was held in 2005 on the square in Neosho.
It drew 2,000 bikes and 6,500 people, he said. The event raised $42,000 for CMN.
The second year also brought in more than $40,000 for the organization. However, a new location had to be found due to criticism that arose from selling beer on the square. Country Adventures, a construction firm, donated land south of its business as a new home for the annual event.
In the two years that the rally has been held there, the area received about five inches of rain in the week leading up to it.
With forecasters calling for nice weather this weekend, this year’s event will be a learning experience, Watson said.
“We’ll find out how big a factor the weather is, and how big a factor the economy is,” he said.
“A lot of people search for something to provide a little relaxation and entertainment. We hope to provide that option for people, whether they ride bikes or drive cars,” he said. “You’ll see things that people don’t see every day, and learn about a lifestyle that some people follow. And at the end of the day, CMN and the kids, moms and dads they help will all fare well.”
Noon: Gates open.
All day: Rides on the “Raminator,” sponsored by Bordertown Casino.
7 p.m.: Diversity.
9 p.m.: Big Smitty.
8 a.m.: Gates open.
All day: “Raminator” rides.
10 a.m.: Poker run, sponsored by PowerSports of Joplin.
11 a.m.: Registration for bike games, sponsored by West 60 Cycle.
12:30 p.m.: Bike games begin.
1 p.m.: Battle of the Bikes, a bike show sponsored by Cycle Connection.
2:15 p.m.: Judging begins.
3 p.m.: Battle of the Bikes Show.
5 p.m.: Poker run/bike game winners announced.
7 p.m. City Limits.
9 p.m. Dirty Deeds, an AC/DC tribute band.
Neosho Powersports will sponsor a fireworks show after the music.
Silver Dollar City highlights new creations, old favorites during spring break event
Joyce Burnett remembers her first roller coaster ride at Silver Dollar City. "I was just a kid," Burnett said, standing on Branson landing. "I might have been 10 or 11 years old. Fire in the Hole scared me so much. It was fun."
Joplin part of Israeli orchestra's first U.S. tour
Well established in its home country, a symphonic orchestra is making its first tour stops in the United States, and Joplin is on its itinerary.
Trimmed 'Tale' gets to central action more quickly
It was the best of stories, it was the worst of -- no, "A Tale of Two Cities" is only the best of stories, said Jeremey Wolfe. The Charles Dickens story is one of his favorites by the author.
Topical play highlights ethical battle between brothers
Whether a play can be considered "timeless" is usually subjective. But a production at Pittsburg State University can easily and objectively be compared to headlines from the last few years, said Joey Pogue.
Titanic's musicians honored in Branson museum's new gallery
Mary Kellogg spent much of the past decade researching the lives of those who sailed on RMS Titanic's maiden voyage.
Veteran, new artist share Legends stage with tributes to Tina Turner, Adele
J.C. Brando knew she liked the music of Adele, but never thought impersonating the English pop songstress would turn into a career.
Annual PhotoSpiva exhibit to open this weekend
When curators at Spiva Center for the Arts put together an exhibit, they have complete control over it, said Director Jo Mueller. They review the work, choose selections and make display decisions.
Marta Churchwell: New steel drum group at MSSU off to great start
Suddenly, the sounds all come together, and the room is filled with light-hearted Caribbean music. I can't stop a smile from breaking across my face. It's feel-good music. I want to break into a calypso and sip a pina colada from a coconut. No wonder islanders are such laid back, happy people, I think to myself.
Jeremiah Tucker: No issues with rock band's take on national anthem
Madison Rising, "America's most patriotic rock band," made headlines by playing an unconventionally rockin' version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open the Daytona 500.
Joe Hadsall: Persistence pays off in hunt for new phone
Finally, I got what I wanted. The phone I've been coveting since it was released in May is now in my hands. I'm so overjoyed with my new BlackBerry Q10 that I was tempted to write this column using its incredible keyboard.
- More Enjoy Headlines
- Silver Dollar City highlights new creations, old favorites during spring break event