Motorcyclists ride to wall

By Sharna Johnson

A procession of more than 100 motorcycles rumbled through Clovis on Sunday to pay homage to fallen soldiers.

One-by-one they filed into the parking lot at Clovis High School, dismounting their metal steeds and making way to the American Veterans Traveling Tribute to pay respects.

The connection between motorcycles and veterans is simple, American Veterans Traveling Tribute CEO Don Allen told the crowd.

“Riding a motorcycle is the ultimate expression of freedom,” he said, explaining it embodies the same spirit of freedom men and women of the armed forces die to protect.

Allen said regardless of where the tribute travels, motorcycles are always present, “whether it is one bike or 14,000 bikes.”

A crowd of around 200 or more gathered in a tent at the memorial and others stood outside in the high, afternoon winds as Ira Pottard, a World War II buffalo soldier, spoke and read Scripture.

At the closing of the afternoon’s church service, Allen invited riders to participate in what he called “The ride of honor.”

One at a time, riders guided their bikes along the wall, receiving salutes from Reserve Officer Training Corps sentries stationed along its length.

Dennis Winn, a Clovis resident and former Marine who served in Vietnam, reverently bowed his head several times as he slowly navigated his Harley-Davidson motorcycle past the 58,253 names of those killed in the Vietnam War.

Clovis’ Run to the Wall shadowed the traditional Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride where bikers make a Memorial Day pilgrimage to the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington D.C.

Finance Manager Randy Rhue said approximately 107 bikes showed up at High Plains Harley-Davidson to ride to The Wall and more riders joined as the group proceeded through town.