PLAINS TWP. — Motorcycle clubs sometimes have bad reputations, but not the Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club.
The club showing why its reputation is so stellar in the region held its 22nd annual SPCA of Luzerne County benefit ride Sunday afternoon.
“They are Bikers With a Heart and they are exactly that,” SPCA Education and Volunteer Coordinator Chelsea Feldmann said. “They always joke that they sometimes get a bad reputation because they are bikers just like our animals sometimes get a bad reputation because they are homeless or they are a hard breed to adopt.
“This proves everyone wrong.”
Feldmann spoke about the impact of the benefit ride.
“It’s a huge event for us,” Feldmann said. “This benefit helps us keep the daily care of our animals. It helps pay for the vaccines, keeping our lights on, gas for our humane officers. It keeps our employees paid, vets on staff, food and vet care.”
The relationship between the Wyoming Valley Motorcycle Club and the SPCA transcends two organizations working together to reach a common goal.
“It sends chills down your spine because you know they are riding for the animals inside that need a second chance,” Feldmann said. “This ride brings people from all different backgrounds. It really washes away a lot of stereotypes.”
“We are just so grateful that they do this for us every year.” Feldmann stated.
The tradition of riding to raise funds for the SPCA actually predates the group itself.
“Despite not officially coming together in 1999, we’ve kept up the tradition over the years, and we’ve raised over $150,000 in that time,” club Vice President Stan ‘Bear’ Goliembeski said. “It’s a good cause to help out our four-legged friends.”
Riders paid $15 to participate while passengers were charged $10. All the proceeds went straight to the SPCA.
The ride took motorcyclists on a non-stop trip to the Poconos before ending back at the Polish American Veterans Club in Plains Township.
Non-riders were also welcomed to the after-party. They were charged $10 at the door, with the proceeds once again going to the SPCA. People had hot dogs and hamburgers as well as refreshments. The band Outta the Blue played live music.
The WVMC usually averages about $8,000 to donate to the SPCA every year. However, they will have a little more money to donate then usual this year.
“We did a ride for a fallen friend, Wayne John Pearce,” Goliembeski said. “He was a big supporter of this event and his family said half of the money we raised at his ride would go to the SPCA.
“I’m an animal lover, and most of the people that come out are.”
One of the animal lover’s to come out and help volunteer was Rain Best, of Scranton.
“I’ve volunteered at this benefit for four years now,” Best said. “There are so many cats and dogs that come to the shelter. I just feel why not help the animals.
“To give back to the community is important. I think it’s just important to give back with whatever time you have.”