Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:00 pm

Nate Poppino
Times-News writer | Posted: Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:00 pm / TIMES NEWS/ TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
Warm weather rallies valley bikers for charity: Weekend event raised money for sick kids
Drew Godleski/For the Times-News Twin Falls resident, Jeff McCoy hangs out during the 2009 Snake River Bros Rally Saturday in Murtaugh.

MURTAUGH – Despite the clouds, a warm sun still shone down Saturday on Murtaugh Lake Park.

It was just what the members of the Snake River Bros. biker organization had hoped for when they rescheduled their annual Rally in the Valley for a July weekend rather than a June one.

The rally, in its fourth year, has become the nonprofit’s major source of funds for children in need of medical attention. For $20 – just $15 for teenagers – a person could camp out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, enjoying music, an evening bonfire, raffles and other events.

Jeff Olson, the group’s events chairman, said Saturday that attendance had already beat out last year’s, when cold weather discouraged all but roughly 520 people from showing up. The group raised $19,000 two years ago, and keeps its expenses to a minimum to save as much money as possible for the kids, he said. The group has given away about $90,000 in the nine years it’s been around, raised from events that also include a charity ride to Elko, Nev., scheduled for the end of this week.

This year, members heard from bikers as far away as Canada and Seattle interested in coming. Besides the fundraising, the rally has helped garner attention for Snake River Bros., current president Bob Steinmetz said.

“It’s a good deal,” he said. “Everybody likes it.”

Mid-afternoon on Saturday, boats roamed across the lake as bikers lounged in the shade on shore and band Sound County began a four-hour set on stage.

More than 40 bikers were just returning from a ride around the Magic Valley, and food vendors such as Shanna Owen hoped business was about to pick up. Owen usually provides late-night food outside Woody’s and caters for workers building a new hospital in Twin Falls, she said. She only recently started setting up at other events – the rally was her second this year.

This year was the first that biker Cory Franks made it up from Glenns Ferry for the event, though he said he does plenty of traveling.

“I try to get out and get to as many rides as I can,” he said. When he can help out sick children, he added, that’s even better. “For the kids, anything.”

Nearby, a group from Twin Falls relaxed in camp chairs and a picnic shelter. For them, the rally was becoming an annual tradition – one, Dena Harpster, even married her husband at the event in its first year.

“It’s pretty nice,” Ashley Withers said as to why they all come back.

Learn MoreParents whose children face medical problems can seek help through Snake River Bros. by contacting a member. The full membership votes on what to give money to. For more information: Jeff Olson at 208-404-6020.
Posted in Local on Sunday, July 12, 2009 11:00 pm

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