Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2008

Damon Hunzeker
Correspondent | Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2008 11:00 pm / TIMES NEWS / TWIN FALLS IDAHO

Staff photo by JUSTIN JACKSON

Alan Garner, a biker from Rupert, jokes with friends at the Rally in the Valley event Saturday at Murtaugh Lake. The sign welcoming visitors to Rally in the Valley at Murtaugh Lake this weekend read: “Fun-Food-Rodeo-Fun-Fun-Bonfire-Vendors-Fun.”

And it was – as promised several times in the sign – fun. About 400 people attended the three-day event, which was hosted by Snake River Bros., a biker organization that raises money for families with children in need of medical attention.

Murtaugh Lake Park was full of motorcycles, tents, rock ‘n’ roll and lots of leather jackets with flaming skulls on them – as well as patches displaying slogans such as “These Colors Don’t Run” and “Loud Pipes Save Lives.”

But the most common slogan on the back of jackets was “Facio Liber” – which, loosely translated from Latin, means “helping children.” Not exactly the Hell’s Angels.

Despite the stereotypical image of drunken brawling bikers, the group members describe themselves as being careful to avoid any association with their unsavory counterparts.

“We’re just a bunch of bikers who wanted to get together and start riding – and we thought this would be a good use of our energy,” said Roger Bolton, treasurer and charter member of the organization.

This year was the third annual Murtaugh Lake event and the group expects to raise about $10,000, mostly from the $20 tickets. Last year, $19,000 was raised, said members of Snake River Bros., which formed seven years ago.

E. Wildman, president of the organization, attributed the lower turnout – 750 people showed up last year – to the inclement weather. The sun shined, but the wind gusted without interruption Friday through Sunday.

“The weather makes or breaks biker events,” Wildman said. “It we hope to get people from Boise or farther away, and the weather isn’t great, it’s not going to happen. But the way Murtaugh is centrally located – it makes for a nice ride.”

The Twin Falls County Commission required the event to use a private security firm, but there were no incidents that required their attention. Eagle Eye Security employees spent Saturday listening to the bands.

Live music was a regular presence at the event. Randy Richards performed Friday night. And on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., four bands performed: Unknown Substance, Sound Country, Dirty Johnny, and Octane – who were vocal about the difficulty of playing in the cold and wind.

At one point, Dirty Johnny told the crowd, for no particular reason, “You can puke all you want.”

Nobody took advantage of the license to vomit, but a gray-haired man in an American flag bandanna demonstrated how to moon-walk during one song.

About 60 bikers rode 120 miles in the area on Saturday, which is a traditional event during weekend biker rallies.

Steve Moser, a member from Jerome, who noted “everyone here knows me as Poochee,” said, “Most of us hadn’t ridden together before. It usually makes things difficult because you don’t know what somebody’s going to do when you’re riding in a huge pack. Everybody was superb, though – I was very pleased.”

The organization focuses on effective private charity, though.

Mark England, another Jerome member, said, “It would tear my heart out to lose a kid, so I want to do anything I can to prevent a family from having to go through that.”

England noted that the group votes on each situation, determining if and how the family should be helped, and noted that the freedom from governmental interference increases the efficiency of their work.

“We’re going to try to move the event into July next year,” Wildman said amid bursts of wind characteristic of the Snake River Plain in June.

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