Thousands Ride to Annual Bike Blessing

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By Loreto Cruz III

ALTO PASS --  It was a big day for bikers Sunday as bikers celebrated the annual Blessing of the Bikes at Bald Knob Cross.

Roger Gibson has been a part of the team that maintains the cross for 51 years, and he's played a part in all 22 of the annual blessings since they began in 1992.
 
"We get people from all over southern Illinois and a lot from the surrounding states. They get their bike blessed and then they roam out all over the region."
 
Richard and Tricia Knop have gotten their Harley Davidsons blessed for the past 12 years.
 
"Normally, I guess, there's been anywhere from 2,200 to 3,000 bikes here," explained Richard. "Each one is different than the next"
 
Tricia said she is always impressed with the crowd and called it a refreshing experience.
 
"It's a beautiful way to meet up with a lot of other Christian bikers."
 
Some bikers claimed forgoing the blessing comes with consequences.
 
"One year I didn't bless mine," said Bruce Lanem. "My headlights broke, my brakes went out. So after that, I vowed to come rain or shine every year." 
 
Gibson said, "This blessing of the bikes was one of the first ones that ever started in this area. Now they're all over the place, but this one remains the biggest."
 
 
 
Marion Regional
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