Saturday, November 22, 2008


So here’s the article that came out in the Thunderpress Nov. 8, issue. Thunderpress is a free newsprint magazine available at many bike shops. The article is very descriptive and well written. I’ve inserted a couple corrections in italics.

THUNDERPRESS Nov. 8, Article:
A sense of community
Bikers combat domestic violence
By Flea

PLACERVILLE, CALIF., SEPT. 13----- Even though the calendar noted the last day of summer as weeks away, the feel of the changing seasons hung in the air as we leathered up for the ride out of the Sacramento Valley, up into the Sierra Nevada mountain range for the third iteration of Kacie’s Ride for Hope. Information on the website for the run had warned that the temps would be cool during the ride as the 140-mile route would take us over the famous Echo Summit near South Lake Tahoe and across Highway 89 before eventually cutting west on State Route 88 towards the 8,650-foot Carson Pass.

By the time we rolled into the Mountain Democrat’s already packed parking lot for the preliminary ceremonies and registration in Placerville, all those toasty, very unnecessary duds were being crammed into saddlebags. It was a beautiful day to be on the road.

Pat Barron, founder of Kacie’s Ride. was working on the microphone and greeting riders as they continued to roll in. The tall unassuming biker with the “in memory of Kacie” patch stitched on his vest stood before the crowd to explain how this run came about when his voice cracked and he was unable to hide his emotions. Kathleen “Kacie” Barron was Pat’s younger sister. She was killed on July 26, 2006, by her estranged lover. She had moved on with her life and was no longer living with her killer (who was not a biker), when he showed up in her garage and shot her.
(I need to add here that Mario, her killer, denied being romantically involved with her in his closing letter during trial testimony. He had stayed at her home refusing to leave until Kacie was spending nights at friend’s homes waiting for him to leave, He trapped her in a trailer she was repairing in her own driveway and shot her.)

Kacie, a gracious lady with a big heart and warm smile, was known to open her doors to women and children trying to escape domestic violence and was actively involved with the Center for Violence Free Relationships in El Dorado County. She loved attending bike runs in her spare time and the route chosen for the ride, which includes Hope Valley, was one of her favorites.

For Pat and his wife Sharon, the grief of losing Kacie was exacerbated by their anger at the senselessness of it all. Instead of standing around with their hands in their pockets, however, the Barron’s took that anger and started trying to make positive changes in the world. Their efforts have evolved into a remarkable memorial ride that both honors Kacie’s life and benefits the community in which she lived.

Along the way of organizing the run, the Barrons became familiar with the South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center whose executive director, Matt Huckabee, was on hand to present Pat with a roll of Lifesavers as a reward for his work at “saving lives” and advised him to “just take one at a time” as riders cheered. Members of the center had made, delivered and set up several wooden silhouettes (collectively called the Silent Witness) that were each labeled with the names and information that memorialized the women who had died as victims of domestic violence. This year, for the first time, a child was represented, too.

Andrew Bailey was 2 ½ years old when he was murdered by his father earlier this spring. His mother, Merrily Melson, nervously shared her story with the crowd as Pat stood nearby, displaying the framed picture of the little boy with the huge grin. The reality of the effects of domestic violence came through loud and clear.

As departure time neared, Pat again addressed the crowd. Warning that the route included some tough terrain, he advised riders to ride within their abilities and be safe while keeping in mind the reason for the run. He also said, “citizens are watching us! We want them to watch and to see that we are here for a cause and we want them to get involved, too. We want to end domestic violence.”

Riders broke up into several small packs to meet up later at a designated rest stop at Hope Valley, where memories of Kacie were shared among the folks who knew her best. Riders helped themselves to refreshments before setting out for the most beautiful stretch of the ride.

The sights along Highway 88 were amazing as we navigated the spans of blacktop through Carson Pass which rises to almost 9,000 feet and offers such views as the crystal clear waters of Kirkwood, Silver, Caples and Blue Lakes. Skirting along the narrowing and twisting Mormon Immigrant Trail, we passed over the dams at Sly Park that contain Jenkinson Lake before dropping down into Pleasant Valley and arriving at Pioneer Park where the real party was rocking.

Old school, simple and fun, the celebration included auctions, raffles so huge that practically everyone walked away with something (this writer even scored a free trip to a beauty salon where I’ll challenge the stylist with seriously wind-blown helmet hair and risk being tossed out the door), and a variety of door prizes.

An incredible homemade chili was served alongside hot-off the grill grub that sated the masses before everyone gathered to participate in fundraising efforts. In lieu of biker games, creative gag prizes were handed out to a variety of riders for things like oldest (Tom Pettibone, who received such goodies as Metamucil and liniment), farthest (Pat Bowers from Carson City, who won Monkey Butt Powder), slowest )Louie who scored Octane Booster and an orange reflector vest), and youngest (suckers and a baseball cap). Prizes were also given for best bikes.

Adolph won as highest bidder at auction for the handmade Kacie’s Ride 2008 belt buckle and then promptly gave it back to Pat during a private moment when he shared that he had been a neighbor of Kacie’s and remembered her well. Mike Mullen won a computer when he outbid the competition. Other prizes included weekend packages at Harrah’s Hotel Casino, a variety of wines, tools, a bike lift, and a pile of goods and services too vast to list. By the day’s end an estimated $12,000 had been raised to be donated to the Center for Violence Free Relationships and we all shared a sense of community. I’m pretty sure Kacie would approve. (

An excellent description of an excellent run, don’t you think? I hope it inspires more people to participate next year. And this is not a Harley run. Yeah most bikes are Harleys but we welcome all riders. In my group were a few Harleys, a `65 Triumph and a couple Ninja bikes. We all had fun.

Again, God Bless.


Liz said...

Thanks Gene - it is sad to hear the stories, but great to see folks getting the support they need.

Sprocket said...

Great entry Gene. Thank you for sharing the article with us.