OCEANSIDE — It is a 10-year tradition for motorcycle riders from San Diego County, Orange County and Imperial County to gather at Kennedy’s Custom Cycles for the annual Bike Blessing and Benefit Rally organized by Bikers for Christ ministry. This year the annual bike blessing took place April 15.
While most of the 300-plus riders drove in on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, all riders and types of motorcycles are welcome.
“We’re not limited to any brand,” Pastor Fred Zariczny, the founder of Bikers for Christ ministry who is also known as Pastor Z, said. “Scooters, race bikes, cruisers— the type of bike doesn’t matter, we pray for anybody who comes along.”
Bike blessings were given at the end of the afternoon rally. A dozen pastors each gathered together a small group of bike owners. Then groups went bike to bike with pastors giving blessings of safety and protection on the road.
Pastor Z also led a wedding vow renewal ceremony for married couples.
All morning there was live rockabilly by Altar Billies and rock ‘n’ roll by the Full Throttle Band. A gourmet buffet lunch was prepared by 5 Loaves and 2 Fish. There were also raffle prize drawings, and biker clothing and accessories for sale.
The half-day event is an annual fundraiser for the Downed Biker Fund, which helps families of severely injured motorcycle riders. Funds are also raised for a selected local individual who needs a hand.
The mission of Bikers for Christ ministry members is to help people around them.
“The Downed Biker Fund gives funds to people who crash on motorcycles,” Pastor Z said. “It helps them out. The insurance company is not going to kick in right away. It gives small checks to help them with incidentals like gas, groceries, if they’re out of work due to injury.”
Stewart Lessig, of Fallbrook, benefited from the Downed Biker Fund a few years ago.
“I was hit by a drunk driver,” Lessing said. “They paid for gas so my wife could see me in the hospital.”
This year the fundraiser also supported funeral expenses for the family of Aiden Montez, a 6-month-old boy who died of liver cancer.
The rally attracts motorcycle clubs and Christian motorcycle clubs.
“We band together to make it work,” Pastor Z said. “It’s a good group.”
For more information, visit bikersforchrist.org.