FULTON, Ill. — More than blessings rained down on approximately 480 motorcycles on Sunday during the 25th annual Blessing of the Bikes in Fulton.
As Father Arley Downie concluded his prayer, blessing all the cycles for a safe riding season as he has for 25 years, the sky opened up and poured rain down on all those in attendance almost signifying a holy water blessing to cap off a successful day.
But before the rain dampened the group, blue skies looked down on them in what organizer Julie Meiners called their best year ever.
“I’m pretty sure we broke the record this year,” she said in regard to the number of bikes that made the journey to Fulton. “We were shooting for over 500 and it looks like we may have gotten there.”
Although they came in just 20 bikes shy of that goal, the day was still a success for the Blessing of the Bikes organizers as they reveled in the sight of seeing that many motorcyclists, young and old, supporting one another and the brotherhood of riding.
And while the event is aimed as the name suggests to bless riders and their bikes during riding season, it is also designed to raise awareness of motorcycles on the road and to remember those who have lost their lives while riding.
During a short speech, motorcycle enthusiast and MAC 94.7 radio station manager Chris Streets paid tribute to a friend he’d lost earlier this year in a motorcycle accident and asked that everyone do the same.
“Remember our fallen friends who lost their lives doing what they loved,” he said. “And keep the rubber on the road.”
That message knows no borders either as riders from all around the Midwest nodded their heads in agreement.
One rider from Geneseo, Illinois, took his first trip to the Blessing of the Bikes ceremony on Sunday after learning about the event from his friends and fellow riders.