Newly-formed 27th Special Operations Wing Rolling Eagles hold safety rally

USAF: Airman Ericka Engblom Participants in the base’s first official motorcycle safety rally ride out of the Base Exchange parking lot. More than 30 riders participated in the rally, which consisted of a safety briefing and a two-hour group ride.

By Airman Ericka Engblom: 27th SOW Public Affairs

Engines revved at the first-ever motorcycle safety rally as more than 30 motorcycle enthusiasts gathered Aug. 1 in the Base Exchange parking lot at Cannon Air Force Base. Riders of all ages and experience levels participated in a safety briefing and two-hour group ride courtesy of Cannon’s motorcycle club.

Though numerous motorcyclists live and work at Cannon, no formal groups existed until May 2011. Staff Sgt. Matthew Short, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Brian Sapp, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron, are the co-creators of the base’s first official motorcycle club, the 27th Special Operations Wing Rolling Eagles. According to Sapp, the group was created to have one voice to rally under to bring rider safety concerns to wing leadership.

Rider safety was also the main concern of the 27th Special Operations Wing Safety Office, ground safety, who sponsored the event.

“Ground safety is in charge of motorcycle safety for the base and part of that is getting the inexperienced riders to match up with the more experienced ones,” said Master Sgt. Craig Lonjin, ground safety superintendent.

Motorcycle accidents were the cause of over 3,000 deaths in the year 2010 alone, according to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The easiest way to prevent disaster is to gain experience,” said Sapp. “Mentoring of younger riders is one of the best way to ensure that they know what to do should they come into a sticky situation, and this event was a great chance for mentorship. We had riders of every skill level out on there.”

The Rolling Eagles considered the event a success and hope to hold more such as this. “Everyone had a good time, and it was good to see some base commitment on mentoring riders,”said Airman 1st Class James Little, 27 SOCES, a rider with five years of experience.

“We had a really good turn out and hope to hold more rides in the future,” Sapp said.

For information on the Rolling Eagles contact Brain Sapp at 575-784-2363.