The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 23, 2009

For a 'rally' good cause: Choppers 4 Children will benefit CMN



By Scott Meeker

smeeker@joplinglobe.com

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.

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