LIMA — Dr. Joseph Bishman, former lead pastor at Shawnee United Methodist Church, headed the first ever Blessing of the Bikes. According to Pastor Bryan Bucher, Bishman did the first of seven, and it is now in its 18th year.
“We don’t have a lake nearby or a mountain, what we have is a lot of open road, and so there are a lot of people who love to ride in this part of the country. Seemed like a good idea to try and call attention to the fact locally that motorcyclists were going to be out on the road and to just kind of cue everybody to start taking that extra look before they pulled out,” said Bucher. “We also like to remind motorcyclists that there are people who love them who want them to come home. So we remind them to be safe as well. This is all to the glory of God and to Jesus we give thanks and praise.”
The event has grown throughout the years.
“I think the first one I ever saw had maybe 300 or 400 bikes and now we regularly, depending on the weather, the biggest year we’ve had was about 1,200. Like all bikers, we’re praying for sunshine,” said Bucher.
Blessing of the Bikes, usually held the first Sunday in May, brings people to the community every year. Organizers hand out collectible patches each year, and Bucher has seen motorcyclists with all the patches on their jacket or vest.
“There are people who make it just a part of their regular routine. It seems to be something that a lot of people look forward to and enjoy, which is a blessing to us. We’re glad that they like it,” said Bucher.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.