The Duncan Banner

September 27, 2013

Bikers hope to rebuild Duncan’s image with Jericho Ride

Toni Hopper
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Bikers love their freedom. They spend every chance they get out on the open roads, regardless of the weather.

But, for people who commit crimes, that freedom can easily be lost.

And with an increasing rise in violence throughout the community, one biker decided something needed to happen that would create a stir — make an impact.

The Jericho Ride.

Billy Morgan, who is pastor of Freedom Biker Church, said a couple of weeks after the shooting death of Australian Chris Lane, he was out riding when he realized action was needed.

“We’ve got to do something to reach out and unify people and make some difference,” Morgan said. “That same week (after the ride) I was in my shop, listening to the Bible on CD, to the story on the battle of Jericho. That’s what I preached on that Sunday and then it just led into the planning of the ride.”

And it isn’t just about that one tragic event. He said it’s also to recognize Alyssa Wiles and Braylee Rae Henry and anyone impacted by the violence.

Morgan knows nearly everyone throughout Duncan and then some.

“I worked with youth for 17 years. In my heart, kids have always had a special part, and all three of those kids (allegedly) involved in the shooting had been to my church. It’s a small town and veryone knows everyone,” Morgan said Thursday.

“We have to lay aside our denominations and start praying. Many people still believe prayer works.”

So, on Sunday, an estimated 600 to 1,000 bikers will gather at Fuqua Park and their presence will be noticed and heard throughout Duncan as they begin an 80 mile ride. They will never leave the area, but will circle the city seven times, said Morgan.

“It’s based on the story of Jericho,” Morgan said. Joshua and his army walked around the city of Jericho sevent times and with a shout, tumbled the walls and conquered the city.

Morgan said that the goal behind the ride is to break down all barriers so the community can begin healing and rebuilding.

It’s about taking a stand against violence.

“Just the crime and violence in general. There comes a time when somebody stands up and show our kids there is a consequence. We have to show the kids they can be a part of something. They don’t have to be violent, but there’s consequence of the violence,” Morgan said.

In getting the rally together, every riding organization Morgan knows of was contacted and so far they’ve been receptive.

“We’ve had a more positive response from the biker culture than from anybody,” he said.

“We’ll meet at 1 p.m behind the swimming pool by Pirkle Pavilion. At 2:01 kickstands go up.”

Why 2:01? “It got your attention, didn’t it?” At 4 p.m. Halliburton Stadium will begin filling with people who don’t ride, to walk the track seven times, pray and praise along with local praise groups.

Morgan said the city and the school district have been extremely supportive.

“We’d like every church to participate and some have responded and some haven’t. We’ve planned this over a 3 1/2 week period. We’ve also got people coming to represent the families of the girls (Alyssa and Braylee).”

He said the evening rally at Halliburton Stadium, which starts at 6 p.m. will feature speakers who will share the impact the violence has had on the community, the churches and the school.

See the accompanying story for details on the entire day’s schedule. For information, call Freedom Biker Church at 580-786-0459.