Led by a pair of wailing fire trucks, more than 250 motorcycles filled Zelienople’s Main Street Sunday for the Brotherhood Memorial Ride.
Now in its third year, the event honors the memory of Trevor Barkley, Sam Bucci, and Elijah Lunsford. The Zelienople teens, who were firefighters and students at Seneca Valley High School, drowned in January 2010 after the sport utility vehicle in which they were riding went out of control and rolled upside down into a icy pond near the Zelienople-Harmony Sportsmen’s club.
“We couldn’t have picked four better people to honor this year,” said event cofounder Josh Rader, a Zelienople firefighter.
Donations of $20 per bike and $10 for a passenger were asked for the ride. Zelienople firefighter Ian Walker, who founded the ride with Rader, said about 250 bikes and 500 people participated in the ride, making it the biggest one yet.
“Honoring our fallen brothers is what’s it all about,” Rader said.
In the past two years, the ride has raised close to $6,000, Rader said. Proceeds from this year’s event will be divided between a skateboard park to be built in Zelienople in memory of the three teens and the Pickett family.
Members of the Pickett family who turned out for Sunday’s event, many of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with Pickett’s name, said they were touched by the event.
“It’s amazing,” said Doug Pickett, Jr., who, like his dad, is a Harmony firefighter. “There are no words to describe it.”
His mother, Sue Pickett, added firefighters rallied around her and her family after her husband died.
“They’ve done nothing but support my sons and I,” she said as tears welled up in her eyes. “I don’t know what we would have done without them.”
After the ride, motorcyclists were invited to the Zelienople Fire Department for food, raffles and more. On a table in front of the station was a memorial to Pickett that included photos and a stuffed Grumpy doll Sue Pickett said she and her two sons picked up for Pickett while in Disney World.
Sue Pickett said her husband earned the “Grumpy” nickname among friends and family because of his tough exterior, but underneath it beat a heart of gold.
“It’s what I fell in love with,” she said.
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