|Fall Fest motorcycle rally to honor paramedic|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
July 18, 2005 - Hopkins County Fall Festival this year will boast what event organizers hope will become an annual event that will offer activities which will appear to an even broader audience.
The day-long motorcycle rally is being named in honor of Forrest Stewart, a paramedic and shift supervisor for Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services who died last year, as a result of stomach cancer.
All proceeds from the Fall Festival Presents the Annual Forrest Stewart Memorial Bike Rally will be donated to a fund being established in memory of Star Nuckolls, which has yet to be officially named. The foundation will utilize funds to assist other Hopkins County families who have a family member suffering from cancer and need assistance, according to Hill.
The bike rally will depart from tradition, with the bike run heading off the parade as the official send off to the week long festival, which starts Saturday, Sept. 10, and concludes Saturday, Sept. 17.
"The Fall Fest Committee wants this to become a yearly event to start the Fall Festival," said Chris Hill, who is helping to organize the bike rally. "We'd like to see in the future this becoming a two-day event, a family-oriented rally."
"The rally is not a Christian rally, not a secular rally. It's a family rally for anyone who's got a bike," said Charles Ivey, president of Spokes for Hope, the local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association which will provide willing workers to staff the games and activities. "We plan to have a great day and hope to expand to a two-day event in the future."
There will be a poker run, which begins with a ride down the traditional parade route about 10-15 minutes prior to the parade kickoff. The bikers will then swoop back to League Street, for the first stop of the poker run at League Street Church of Christ before departing for the area volunteer fire departments and concluding on the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center grounds.
The ride is expected to last until about 1 p.m., when things really get swinging with biker games, vendors offering food and motorcycle merchandise and accessories, and a bike show, all on the Civic Center grounds. The event will be family-oriented, so participants are encouraged to bring the kids.
"We're trying to get as many people as we can here," Hill said. "We're trying to get some shirts printed that say the Forrest Stewart Bike Ride and Rally, Fall Festival event. Last year, we had a benefit poker run and barbecue for Forrest, but it wasn't during Fall Festival. We're not planning to have an auction this year, and food will be from vendors and the Fall Fast board will have hamburgers and drinks. All proceeds, except for that from the Fall Fest board, will go to the Star Nuckolls foundation."
Rally coordinators are still in the planning stages for this year's event, but are hoping to get another motorcycle group out of Mineola, which specializes in children's ministries to plan events for children, and "The Forgiven" group will help with any security needs which may arise. They are also hoping to have musical entertainment, which would play throughout the day with the possibility of a street dance that evening.
"We've talked about the entry fee, but nothing has been set in concrete yet," Ivey said. "We're talking about letting vendors set up their sites with no charge, but donations would be accepted."
For more information about the Forrest Stewart Bike Ride and Rally contact Chris Hill at 903-348-2890, John Klein at 903-348-5216 or 903-885-9425, or local Spokes for Hope chapter of CMA President Charles Ivey at 903-461-4840 or 903-488-9118. Information and registration forms will soon be posted on the Star Nuckolls Web site, which will be converted to the Star foundation Web Site: www.myshiningstar.