About twice a year, a good old boy named J.O. Batten runs an “Old School Biker Rodeo Party in the Pasture” in his own private pasture in Hernando County, Florida.
Batten is about as good natured as a man can be. He put up with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie living with him in 2004 for the second season of the “reality” television show The Simple Life. When he was younger, Batten also put up with a tour of duty in the Marine Corps in Vietnam.
Where The Money Goes
Most of the proceeds from his “Party in the Pasture” go to a foundation that Batten and two other good Americans have started. It is called the DD-214 Foundation and Batten’s partners in this endeavor are “DonV” Varrieur, who publishes a little magazine named Scootergoods, and a gentleman named “Chickenman” Morrison. If you do not know what a DD-214 is you probably don’t need to know. It is not important. It is just a veteran’s thing.
The last time Batten held his rodeo he hosted 2,200 guests and the next week he donated the profits, $11,000, to the Marine Corps League. The money went to veterans who were disabled or who were otherwise in distress.
Six months before that, the DD-214 Foundation donated another $10,069 in profits from the party in J.O.’s pasture. That money bought gasoline and airline tickets for visits from veteran’s families, bought food for veterans and paid veteran’s utility bills.
It is just a simple charity. The beneficiaries of these grants are screened by the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa and the Hernando County, Florida office of the Veterans Administration.
The Fun Part
Well, actually, it is a little more than only a charity. Just about everybody who has ever attended one of these parties has had a good time. These events hearken back to an earlier, simpler time; a time when it was a lot less work and a lot more fun to be a damn outlaw.
The beer at these things is cheap. The tee shirts are inexpensive. There are stupid bike games and burnouts and lots of women who are just a little bit on the trashy side. It is an adults only event.
Our Socially Inept Masters
It is not an event for the kind of people who run every local government in America. Anyone who has ever watched a local government govern, either in person or on public access television, knows what a local government is.
Local government is the same pathetic people who ran your Junior High student council, wasting two or three perfectly pleasant evenings a week making really boring, irrelevant and barely intelligible speeches at each other. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Then, from time to time, they pass a law that the police then get to make all the rest of us obey.
Now, whether this is or this is not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote his declaration is not what you need to know here.
Now They Know
All you need to know is that local government finally found out what the bikers in J.O. Batten’s pasture have been up to the last couple of years. Somebody told them it was about “beer, tits and biker shenanigans.” Oh no!
And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, they found out about the “screaming orgasm contest.” Somebody put a 27 second video of one of the contestants up on You Tube. And, the Hernando County local government found it.
This video features an attractive, young woman with waist-long, blonde hair. She is wearing a pair of cutoff jeans and a tube top and she is vigorously humping all inhibition out of some sort of a saddle. It might be a motorcycle saddle. She raises a microphone to her mouth and screams in self-deprecating, mock passion.
Baby You Are The Best
Someone off camera says something like, “Baby, it don’t normally happen that fast.”
But, the attractive, young blonde ignores him. She rises, reverses her position and proceeds to once again make whatever the hell it is that she is humping the happiest whatever it is in the Sunshine State. One cannot help but conclude that if this blonde really likes a guy and he buys her dinner, then afterward, for dessert, he is probably going to have a real good night.
“Whoa!” Hernando County Commissioner Diane Rowden told the St. Petersburg Times about the video. “Um, I’m breathless,” Rowden added cryptically. “This is a first.”
It is impossible to tell from the Times account whether Ms. Rowden is actually outraged or whether she has just then decided that she needs to make some changes in her life -that she has to stop attending these stupid, local government meetings and instead go find herself a man that owns a leather jacket and join all of us on the dark side. Open minded, good hearted men might be inclined to think that even if she is now outraged all Ms. Rowden needs to change her mind is a good, long, hard motorcycle ride.
However there is no mistaking the County Commission’s intent to run Batten and his DD-214 Foundation out of business. In 2002, Hernando County banned public nudity, and the county attorney has gone on record as saying Batten’s party violates that ban, even if it is held in Batten’s own private pasture, because the adult general public is invited and if you want to get in you have to pay $10.
This week, the county is threatening Batten with a $15,000 fine if he goes ahead with the party he has scheduled for this Halloween weekend.
And, Batten has appealed. He is scheduled to appear before the Commissioners tomorrow, September 23.