Twice a year for the last couple of years a public spirited and colorful character named J.O. Batten has sponsored an “Old Time Biker Rodeo” in a pasture he owns in Hernando County, Florida.
As the phrase “old time” implies, the party is not necessarily aimed at the upscale end of the Harley lifestyle. Think of it as the front lawn of the White House during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson. Only without the gun fights. The official description is “beer, tits and biker shenanigans.”
Batten and a couple of partners named “DonV” Varrieur and “Chickenman” Morrison run the event to raise money for a charity called the DD-214 Foundation. The foundation is named for the piece of paper the government hands you when you are separated from one of the Armed Services and it is intended to help veterans who are running low on their luck.
The event was almost cancelled this year when the Hernando County Commission discovered a 27 second video on You Tube of a competitive game at the rodeo called the “Screaming Orgasm Contest.” The video features a hot young blonde and what is probably a motorcycle saddle. They have just met, yet the two of them are obviously very much in love.
The Commissioners who saw the video clip were shocked. They threatened to cancel the event and allowed it to proceed only after Batten promised them that everyone would be on their best behavior.
The politicians got their respect.
Two thousand bikers showed up at Batten’s pasture over Halloween weekend and as of this week only one law seems to have broken. Two women got into a fight at the event. Maybe they were fighting over the same motorcycle saddle. One of them was charged with misdemeanor battery.
Irritating And Humiliating
A columnist for the St. Petersburg Times named Dan DeWitt attended the event and he was pretty repulsed. He admits that he does not like bikers or bikes. The “Confederate paraphernalia irritated” him so much that he thought about starting a fist fight.
“When I saw a battle flag embroidered on a leather vest over the slogan ‘Try burning this one, a–hole,’ I was tempted,” DeWitt wrote. Now DeWitt knows how Pagans feel when they see a “Support HA” tee shirt.
Apparently, just being close to bikers is enough to turn some good citizens bad. Maybe three more runs and DeWitt will start showing up these things wearing a cut and a bowie knife. And, from there it will be only a short step to the day when he starts hiding a derringer in his boot.
So far however, the columnist still doesn’t quite get what he saw. He did not understand “what the fun was” in the weenie bite. He observed that the biker game must be humiliating “for the women involved.”
But he was slightly less offended by the “few women walking around with body paint in lieu of halter tops.” And DeWitt did liberally conclude his report from the front line of the culture wars by allowing that it does not make much difference what people who were not there “think about what went on Batten’s pasture.”
Officials Hunt For Violations
One complaint has been lodged of “cursing over a loudspeaker.” The Hernando County Code Enforcement Director, stood outside the event with decibel meter but the noise level never exceeded legal limits.
The county Zoning Administrator inspected the area and found one discarded fast food cup. He will prepare a report on the event and submit it to the County Commission next year. Eventually they will decide if Florida and Hernando County can survive the “Old Time Biker Rodeo” again.
The Rodeo raised about $15,000 for the DD-214 Foundation.