Anti-child-abuse bikers roll into Hildale, Colorado City

Not anti-polygamy: The trip only was meant to show that the group supports all abused kids

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – About 60 Harley-Davidson motorcycles thundered through the twin polygamist enclaves of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, Saturday, ridden by tattoo-covered, black leather-clad bikers.

The bikers were Utah members of Bikers Against Child Abuse, which held its annual state picnic Saturday in Kanab. They traveled to Hildale and Colorado City as part of a poker run to raise money for the group
that advocates for abused children.

The twin cities are home to polygamist members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose leader, Warren Jeffs, is on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, accused of arranging marriages with under-age girls.

Donn Pillmore, president of the riders’ Kane County chapter in southern Utah, said the trip through Colorado City-Hildale was not intended to make a statement, but to show that the group represents all
abused children, wherever they live.

“We’re not sending a message to polygamists,” said Pillmore. “We are available to support kids who have been abused, not as therapists but to make them feel that they can belong to something. It’s the same message to all.”

The group’s most prominent presence when not rolling down the highways is in court, where they attend proceedings in a show of support for children testifying in abuse cases.

“Court can be scary for even an adult,” said Pillmore.

The streets of Colorado City were pretty much empty as the pack of Harleys rolled through under a breezy, blue sky.

At the Border Store in Hildale, the riders packed the small convenience store to buy drinks and snacks before rolling on to four more poker stops. (After receiving a playing card at five poker stops,
the rider with the best hand wins a prize.)

In the parking lot, several children from the nearby community of Centennial Park gawked at the powerful motorcycles that were taller than they were.

“Cool,” said Logan Hammond, 8, who with siblings and friends got to sit on some of the shinny machines.

They were there with Natalie Hammond, who said the motorcycle group was invited by members of Centennial Park to show their children that not everyone who passes through the area is there to gawk.

“It’s also important they learn about support groups,” said Hammond. “Abuse doesn’t happen just in the home.”

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The Salt Lake Tribune, USA
June 11, 2006
Mark Havnes

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday June 12, 2006.
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