For the last 13 years individuals with developmental disabilities at Park Lawn have benefit from the big hearts of motorcycle riders. In the past, motorcyclists were thought of as rough and tough, but Park Lawn supporter and Frankfort resident Doug Partl and his friend Steve Bonk of Midlothian wanted to prove that with big bikes, often times come even bigger hearts for the local community.
They had attended several Park Lawn events in the past and were aware of the many programs and residential services available to hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities. They also knew that the Chicago land area is full of bikers and wanted to use that to help Park Lawn. A committee of motorcycle enthusiasts gathered to help organize the event. This included Mark Miller, who’s sister-in-law benefits from Park Lawn’s Adult Developmental Training Program; Donna Partl; Patricia Graham; and Kurt Pratt.
In 1997, the first Big Bikes, Big Heart event attracted around 200 bikers. Last year, more than 600 bikers arrived to ride for Park Lawn. The event last year raised more than $16,000. The rally theme that was introduced last year and will continue into this year is a pirate’s life on the road. The bikers and their passengers will receive more information at registration about the treasure hunt that lies ahead. While bikers will go to various locations throughout the day, each place will offer a buried treasure for one lucky matey.
Bonk explains that the history of pirates and bikers goes back many years. Just like the stories of the old pirate life enjoying the open sea on their ship, a biker enjoys the spirit of the open road on his bike. This was even depicted in pop culture through a famous painting by artist David Mann with a picture of a pirate steering his ship with a biker in front steering his bike.
“There’s a little bit of a Jack Sparrow type pirate in every biker,” Bonk will tell you while sitting on his award winning bike. “The love of rum and the ladies and the twinkle in Jack’s eye when he sees the black pearl is the same when bikers see their motorcycle.”
All bikers and passengers are encouraged to wear any pirate gear they may have to the run. Included in the entrance fee are raffles, door prizes, a bike show, run pins and live music and food. Non-run participants are invited to the post run party at CD & Me in Frankfort, where there will be live music by Vintage X beginning at 2:30 PM. To purchase tickets, visit www.bigbikesbighearts.com or call 708-425-6867. Registration fee is $15/rider and $10/passenger.
Big Bikes, Big Hearts is a charity event hosted by Park Lawn, a local non-profit organization that provides programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Park Lawn’s mission is to provide services that promote independence, choice and access to community living for people with developmental disabilities. We provide services for people between 21 through 70 years old. Attending this event will provide better medical care and encourage independence for individuals with developmental disabilities.
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Park Lawn is a non-profit organization with a mission is to provide services that promote independence, choice and access to community living for people with developmental disabilities.