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Seven inductees named to SC Bikers Hall of Fame

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Anita Crone/For The Times John 'Brother Speed' Finley embraces Bill Barber, manager of SBB, after Finley was inducted into the Bikers Hall of Fame.

Two Murrells Inlet men joined five others Saturday as inaugural members of the South Carolina Bikers Hall of Fame. The seven were inducted during a ceremony at Suck Bang Blow.

Emmitt Jones and Richard Sowash were chosen as were the late Tommy Sunders, Donny Emery, Keith “Stump” Williams, John “Brother Speed” Finley and Jimmy Motley Mills.

Jones is a member of ABATE, a biker rights organization, Chapter 3 of Rolling Thunder and the Patriot Guard. He said that the most important thing for any biker is to give back to the community.

He did that, he said, when he went to Columbia to fight for choice about the state’s helmet law and parking rules that unfairly targeted bikers.

“They had a law in Charleston and other areas in the Upstate that limited bike parking to 5 or 10 bikes in parking areas that had space for dozens or more vehicles. We wanted to ensure that we had places to park our bikes,” he said.

A lifelong motorcycle rider, he said his wife filled out for the paperwork for the hall.

Sowash, too, has been riding motorcycles for decades, and takes motorcyclists’ rights seriously.

“When they first started talking about the helmet law – which would have required any motorcyclist to wear a helmet – we told them that it was important to let those who ride decide,” he said.

He praised his fellow bikers, calling them a generous group of people, “always looking out for veterans and those that need help.

His own involvement extends from the 1988 effort for muscular dystrophy when bikers raised more than $8,000 for an electric wheelchair, to the annual Toys for Tots fundraisers.

He said he sees the relationship between bikers and the Grand Strand communities as a constantly evolving one. “Every few years it changes; when we first started Bike Week, we were limited to one area near the base. Then it grew to include Myrtle Beach, then they decided they didn’t want us, so we moved.

“The one thing about bikers is that they don’t go where they aren’t wanted,” said Motley, the owner of SBB for about another month, until the paperwork of a sale is complete.

“There’s nothing like feeling the wind in your face when you’re riding down the highway,” he said.

It’s also about extending your personality to your bike.

“You see a Cadillac or a car brand and they all look alike. But no bike looks like any other. The owner puts his personality into that bike,” Motley said.

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