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Riding for a good cause

Two local motorcycle clubs are joining forces Saturday, April 17 and riding from Suffolk to Roanoke Rapids, N.C. for the memory of Ashton “Boogie” Gatewood, Jr.

The High Mileage Marauders of Hampton and Smithfield’s Mass Productions Motorcycle Club, along with Essentials Social Club, are raising donations and riding for Ashton, a Smithfield High student who passed away on Sept. 18, 2009 at age 16 from brain cancer.

Ashton played football for Smithfield and, along with his dad, Ashton Gatewood, loved motorcycles. Gatewood is a long-time member of Mass Productions.

“We’re raising money for the family, and we want people to be aware that we’re not just a motorcycle club. We’re not outlaws. We’re not some sort of gang,” said James Brown, a member of the High Mileage Marauders. “There’s a good side to our group, we’ll all like a family, and we like to do things in our neighborhoods, too.”

“We’re a motorcycle club, but we’re also a club that’s about supporting each other in a time of need,” Brown said.

A release by the High Mileage Marauders includes, “It is times like these that we have to become unified and show the community that the (motorcycle club) world is not about how fast we ride or how we party, it’s about supporting each other in time of need.”

Ashton’s parents, Ashton Sr. and Shelley, both missed several months of work following their son’s passing. Hospital and medical expenses are still adding up.

The clubs are asking for $10 donations for those interested in joining the ride. Any donations, from riders or others, are more than welcome.

Everyone will gather at the Suffolk National Guard Armory on Route 10. The ride starts at 9 a.m. ending with lunch at Carolina BBQ in Roanoke Rapids. All proceeds will be presented to the Gatewood family in Roanoke Rapids.

For more information, please contact “Picture Man” of High Mileage Marauders at 334-2143, “J Roc” of Mass Production at 508-5042 or “Angee B” of Essentials Social Club at 846-0429.