Autism charity brings bikers to town

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

NATCHEZ — Whether hardcore bikers or just weekend warriors, hundreds of motorcycle riders filled Main Street Saturday for a good cause.

Riders with the Project Independence Ride for Autism spent the better part of the day Saturday rolling into downtown Natchez, which was partially blocked off to accommodate all of their parked motorcycles.

Project Independence is an organization whose goal is autism awareness, and all proceeds from the ride went to the organization.

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This is the fourth time in its six years the ride has come to Natchez.

Vidalian Mike Brown wasn’t able to go down to Scott, La., for the start of the ride because of Friday night’s storms, but he said Saturday offered him an opportunity to ride around locally and go see the different motorcycles.

“We just spent the day riding around locally,” he said.

And the fact that the ride’s aim is to help raise awareness about autism didn’t hurt, either.

“I think it is awesome — it’s a great thing they’re doing,” Brown said.

Dorma Tarver, of Monterey, agreed.

“It’s good when this many people get together for a cause,” she said.

Motorcyclist Ward Tilly of Lafayette has made the ride every year since it started because he has a friend who has an autistic child.

“I am supporting (the Project Independence Ride) 100 percent,” he said.

Lafayette-based biker Mark Lowrey said he knows one of the organizers, and when he heard about the ride he couldn’t resist joining in.

“I said, ‘Hey, I love Natchez,’ so I headed up,” Lowrey said.

And Saturday was a good day for the ride.

“It was a little chilly, but if you bundle up, this is perfect weather,” Lowrey said.

The ride — which doubled as a poker run — ended at Doc Biglove’s.