GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As if the temperatures weren’t hot enough, the Gulfport Dragway was steaming with motorcycles blazing down the strip during the 37th annual Gulf Coast Memorial Day Blowout.
Motorcycle races dominated the spotlight, and if they were not running the track, they were on display celebrating every style of ride on two, and even three, wheels.
“There’s a lot of love and sweat that goes into this kind of a bike,” said Robert Nelson.
Nelson’s 2006 Fatboy Harley comes with a special guest rider: a silver skeleton.
“I get more compliments about my ex-wife sitting on my seat,” he said with a laugh. “She won’t leave and don’t feed her. So, that’s what she looks like now.”
This is Benjamin Pippin’s first Blowout. The timing was right to bring his 61-year-old Harley.
“I wanted to ride my motorcycle today,” he said. “I had a heart attack a few years back, and I ain’t been able to ride. I said I’m going to ride somewhere something’s going on.”
Organizers don’t keep hard and fast numbers, but attendance was in the thousands.
One of the most dedicated vendors is the Hellfighters Motorcycle Ministry that sells products and passed on the good Word.
“That’s our love and our passion plus the Lord,” said member Sean Joseph Lubin. “That’s what we do. We ride around and share the Gospel.”
Asgard Cyrus, a volunteer with the Blowout, said the event is more than racing engines and burning rubber.
“We help work with the Boys & Girls Club and other local charities or somebody that needs a hand and they reach out to us and we help,” he said. “This is what makes it possible.”
That helps describe the character of those who attend.
“They’ve got big hearts,” Cyrus added. “I don’t care what they look like, big beards, burly people, whatever it is. They’ll reach in their wallet and help somebody out whenever they need to.”
The Blowout began Friday and goes all the way until Monday morning.