Son Riders spread gospel to motorcyclists

April 16, 2014 

Bill Gragg is president of the Son Riders, a midstate chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. Gragg said the organization’s main purpose is to serve others.

MICHAEL W. PANNELL — Special to The Sun News

  • Son Riders

    Phone: 478-396-9167
    Leadership: Bill Gragg, president
    Meetings: First Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Ole Times Country Buffet in Warner Robins, Bible study the second Thursday at Denny’s in Byron with a 6 p.m. meal
    Website: www.cmaser6.org/ga/sonriders

WARNER ROBINS -- Son Riders were at Angel City’s Spring Motorcycle Rally in Unadilla over the weekend, but their goal wasn’t to party -- it was to serve.

“We help where we can,” said Bill Gragg, president of the Son Riders, local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. “We open and close entry gates, help with food, pick up trash, keep toilet paper in Porta-Potties, help with bike games and other stuff. But we don’t help with wet T-shirt contests or anything like that. We rarely even get asked to help with that sort of thing.”

Gragg said they also don’t go out preaching and hollering. He said they simply help and serve other motorcyclists out of the love that Jesus has for them. When the opportunity comes along to share the Gospel, the group is eager. And Gragg said the opportunity does come along.

“We have a message but not with criticism or looking down our noses at anybody,” Gragg said. “When they need us, we’re there. When they have questions, we talk. We’ve baptized people at these events who’ve wanted to talk to us and come to know God. We’ve had some surprising conversations.”

The Son Riders do the same at Angel City rallies, at Thunder Rally in Milledgeville, at the Dixie Bike Fest in Elko, the Trail of Tears Ride in Chattanooga, Tenn., and at Christian Motorcyclist Association efforts at national rallies.

“This was one of the largest events we’ve seen at Angel City,” Gragg said. “Boy, were we busy. One of the ways we judge how much support we provide is by how much coffee we give out, and we went through a lot of coffee. I gave up counting at 110 cups. We got to pray with a lot of folks and just let a lot of others get things off their chest. All of this at no cost, no donations requested or accepted.

“Son Riders and other CMA-ers were just there to serve because when it comes right down to it, that’s what all Christians are, examples of how Christ came to serve us by giving his life on the cross to save us all.”

As a chapter, the Son Riders have their own monthly meetings, social rides, do local hospital visits for bikers, help out when someone breaks down on the road, set up tents at rest stops for bikers going through to Daytona Beach, Fla., help get helmets to riders passing through Georgia unaware of helmet laws, speak at churches and ride in support of other bike groups’ efforts and charitable events.

They even do bike blessings.

“We’ll pray for people’s bikes and give them a little sticker to go on it,” Gragg said. “The stickers have the year’s date on it, and you’d be surprised how many come up at these events and say their sticker has expired; they need a new blessing. Of course, the blessing doesn’t expire, but it’s a great way to talk to people.”

Gragg said the Christian Motorcyclist Association was founded in 1975 after an Idaho pastor went on a motorcycle trip to spend time with his young son. He said the pastor realized there was a whole culture of people out on the road on motorcycles and wondered, “Who’s taking care of these people from a spiritual point of view?”

“We’ve been showing our colors and gaining respect as a group ever since,” Gragg said. “Our purpose as an association is to share and show the love of Jesus Christ to motorcyclists. We encourage members to be active in their testimony and Christian witness to all motorcyclists, both enthusiasts and hard-core bikers. We’re a Christian fellowship ride group and an evangelistic association. We study the Bible together and pray a lot. We serve fellow motorcyclists because Christ loves them. It’s gained us a lot of respect, and respect is important in motorcycle culture. But we’re a servant ministry, not a motorcycle club. We share Jesus Christ with anybody but especially motorcyclists.”

Gragg, 60, is a Navy veteran and director of Air Force platforms for the engineering division of Wyle Laboratories Inc. By day, he doesn’t look the part of a biker. Donning jeans and his Christian Motorcyclist Association colors -- a leather vest with the group’s insignia on the back -- helps, but he still doesn’t look menacing at all with his big friendly smile.

“I got involved when some CMA guys came and spoke at our church,” he said. “I was riding a little scooter at the time and after talking to them agreed to come along just to cook for a couple of events. I’m pretty good at cooking for large groups. After a month or two, I signed up and got a bigger bike.”

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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