by Scott Steelhogg Warner

Their backs were already hot to the touch and their palms were wet with sweat when Kristie and I exchanged hugs and handshakes with Shannon and Rick on that 4th of July morning. The destination was unknown and not important, but the journey was destined to be great in the intense heat wave and devastating drought of summer 2012.

After texting back and forth earlier in the morning, we decided to hook up for a day of riding and grabbing a bite to eat. What a way to enjoy the day off on the 4th of July -- with two wheels and freedom with friends.

As the day drew long with the shadows, we all agreed that it had been fun, but it was time to kick back and enjoy a cold one and chill the heels for a bit.  So we pulled into JACS DOGHOUSE, a bar in Pekin, IL. Where being in trouble is worth the punishment. There are always good times here and we expected no less on this day.

As we slumbered back into the cool high backed swivel stools at the bar, we all exchanged conversation with the tenders and those sitting around the house, when I heard that all familiar sound of the front door opening.

I swiveled around in my stool and raised my sunglasses to the top of my bald head, so I could see who was coming to join us. As I looked toward the door and refocused my eyes to the bright light that was coming in, I could barely make them out, but I knew it was Diane and Scott.

“Are you guys riding today, too?” I asked.

“No silly” Diane replied. “I’m wearing my sun dress.”

Without missing a beat I instantly replied, “Well, if I had a sun dress I would be riding today,” and we all began to laugh at the mere thought.

Immediately Shannon chimes into our friendly banter and says, “I would pay good money to see that.”  After a lengthy time of laughter and sharing ideas of possible accessories to go along with this dress, it was time to saddle up to go and watch the fireworks.

The day and night came and went and all the while, my mind would wander at times thinking about the day and what it truly means. Independence Day -- and what better way to celebrate our freedom than on two wheels surrounded by friends.

Thursday night after work Kristie and I were sitting down relaxing with laptops in place; we both were catching up on the day’s events with family and friends on Facebook, and also discussing the day before and the whole sun dress thing -- when out of nowhere, Kristie looks up at me while typing and says, “Why don’t you just do that babe?”

“Do what?” I asked.

“Why don’t you put on a sun dress  and see how many people would pay to see you ride your Honda VTX1800 down the road in it. You could give all the money to your favorite charity or cause,” she replied.

Once those words left her heart and flowed from her lips, I was in it to win it.

I replied “Let’s do it” and without hesitation, Kristie extended her right index finger and pushed the enter button on her laptop.

You see, the entire time that we were talking back and forth, Kristie was already creating an event on Facebook because she knew in her mind and in her heart that I would do it after she sold me on the idea, which didn’t take much.

After a little more conversation about the event and where the money should be donated I decided HOMELESS HEROES is where the money would be donated. After a little research around the area, I found that the General Wayne A. Downing home in Peoria was all about helping our homeless war veterans. So after a few small edits to the event, the creation of “STEEL HORSEMEN FOR HOMELESS HEROES” was created.

Within the first hour of the events posting, we had 6 burly biker brothers signed on for the mission. The creation and explosion of this event came from the mere seeds of friendship and celebration of our freedoms. What better way to give back to those who have given so much for us all.