By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
Residents and visitors of South Padre Island, Port Isabel and Laguna Heights were treated to an impromptu motorcycle parade late Saturday, as a large contingent of a global motorcycle riding group, the Ruff Ryders, began its Memorial Day ride from the SPI Convention Center to the Mad Boar motorcycle shop in San Benito.
The rumble and roar of hundreds of motorcycles with 515 registered participants in attendance drew attention as they made their way through South Padre Island, escorted by two motorcycle police officers and other official vehicles. The Ruff Ryders cruised across the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway and through the communities of Port Isabel and Laguna Heights, with traffic lights and intersections diverted to accommodate their safe passage. Townsfolk, tourists and fellow motorists waved and honked as the group made its way out to Highway 100 toward its destination.
Organizers for this event included “Shrek,” the president of the Killeen, Texas Ruff Ryders chapter; “Lady Rock,” a police officer out of Chicago, and “Big Sip” from San Antonio. Lady Rock spoke about the group and their members, and described their organization and its focus. “We are a group of professional people – we have a lot of police officers and retired military in our group. We are community-based. Everything we do is about family, community, and kids.” They decided to come to South Padre Island for this year’s Memorial Day celebration, rather than the popular Atlantic Beach Bikefest, also known as Black Bike Week. (Black Bike Week is a yearly event that brings in thousands of African American motorcycle riders and clubs.) Lady Rock continued, “We got tired of the craziness of Myrtle Beach, so we decided to come to South Padre Island. They really opened up their doors to us. Everyone has been so friendly, and the food is the bomb!” She specifically mentioned Chief Randy Smith and Assistant Chief Javier Garza of the SPI Police Department for assisting them during their visit.
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