Bikers rev up #036;6,000 for Dismal Swamp

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 12, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

At the Peanut Fest’s Swamp Roar motorcycle rally on Saturday afternoon, Randi Bowen stopped traffic on a dime.

Was part of it due to her beauty? Of course. But safety was another concern.


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&uot;It was a lot of fun when all the traffic stopped to let us go past,&uot; says the 21-year-old. &uot;I loved getting to run all the red lights and stop signs.&uot;

She had a great deal to pass by; the journey was a nearly 90-mile trek around the Dismal Swamp. Beginning at the Peanut Fest at 10:30 a.m., the trip took about two hours, due in part to the fact that over 500 bikers showed up to do their thing.

The event raised over $6,000 for the Great Dismal Swamp Coalition, which promotes public education about the area.

For Bowen, the event was a family affair; while she and her sister Becky traversed on a Heritage Softail, their mother and stepfather Kitty and Willie Quillen (both three-decade veterans of biking) carried Becky’s daughters, Chantel and Victoria.

&uot;It was a really smooth ride,&uot; Becky said. &uot;It was a little wet and chilly, but other than that, it was fun.&uot;

Unlike last year’s event (which took place soon after the Peanut Fest), there were no accidents in the 2003 run (although last year’s only had one).

&uot;The state police did an awesome job helping us through,&uot; said Chris Davidson of Suffolk. Davidson and his girlfriend Debi Batten made the journey on their 2000 Honda Aero.

&uot;I saw a lot of fallen trees from the hurricane, and someone else saw a black bear,&uot; Davidson said. &uot;But the water’s really smooth in the swampy areas. On a wet road, you can get in trouble really quickly, but everyone out there was really courteous.&uot;