Riders in real life
Cruisin for Critters helps Humane Society while documentary crew seeks to provide glimpse into biker culture
Men and women who sport helmets and leather were out this weekend helping out friends who are more comfortable with their fur in the second annual Cruisin for Critters ride.
Motorcycle riders gathered on Saturday at Cedartown’s First Presbyterian Church to take part in the fundraiser for the Ce-dartown-Polk County Humane Society, raising money to help the organization and its mission to make the lives of local pets all the better.
Kelly Taylor represented the Humane Society for this year’s ride, and said that all the money raised during the event is going right back to the efforts the organization puts into educating the community about the importance of taking care of their pets, and their spay and neuter program.
“The Humane Society has made huge strides in this county, as far as education to the public and our spay and neuter program has been extremely successful,” Taylor said. “This is just another way that we can help our mission and give back to the community as well.”
Riders might have enjoyed the beautiful day on the roads around
Polk County over the weekend, but they also got the chance to participate in another project going on involving motorcycles as well.
Sky Atkins and Sean Smith are working together to provide the world a glimpse inside of the culture of motorcycle enthusiasts in hopes of showing what those who are out on their bikes are all about.
“We’re wanting t o show the side of bikers that most people don’t pay attention to, which is benefit rides, helping communities and various charity organizations, things like that,” Atkins said. “Just because you see a guy wearing leathers, with a lot of clothes on and a big loud Harley, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy.”
The perception of motorcycle culture is what Atkins and Smith are hoping to change. They’ve traveled around the area for the past months filming a variety of people, and one of their stops today was at the Cruisin for Critters ride as riders assembled in the church parking lot.
“We’re here to show people the 99 percent (of riders),” Smith said.
“Also hopefully we’ll intrigue a lot of younger people to get a motorcycle, and how they can have a lot of fun,” Atkins said.
He added that much of the reason why people like himself ride are to enjoy the freedom of being on the open road. Atkins himself rides around on a Triumph Rocket III, which he said is the largest manufactured.
“It’s not a beginner bike,” he said. “But you learn to ride it.”
Potential riders can find all sizes of motorcycles, and should get one they feel comfortable riding and can also tailor to their individual preferences.
“They are basically an extension of someone’s personality,” he said. “That’s another thing we’re showing too. There are reason things look and sound… not to be intimidating.”
Elliot Rutledge, a Cedartown native, is one of the producers on the documentary that is still in production but being called “The Last Breath of Freedom.”
Go to the online version of this story to see a trailer for the documentary.
Above: Riders joined in a circle and prayed for a safe journey ahead of the start of Cruisin for Critters 2018. Below:A variety of motorcycles were lined up in front of Cedartown First Presbyterian on Saturday before kickstands went up in the Cruisin for Critters benefit ride. Bottom: Humane Society volunteers signed in riders.
A documentary crew headed up by Sky Atkins and Sean Smith took part in the event to show off a positive side to motorcycle enthusiasts.