Just a few months ago, in May, we reported that our local Araba Shrine Center's Motorcycle Drill Team competed and won first place in the State wide competition for the second year in a row!
They did it again! This time at the International Shrine Competition held in Daytona, the competition was held inside the infield at Daytona Speedway.
So how did they do it? "When we started this Drill Team, there were only four of us that first year, and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but you have to start somewhere", said Fred Petersen, one of the original members of the team. "We get together once a week, sometimes twice a week to work on our routine", he said, adding, "All the hard work was worth it! What a great feeling to take both honors, 1st in State and 1st at International in the same year.... "
"I like to describe Drill competition as synchronized swimming but with full dresser Harley's", one of the wives told me, requesting to remain anonymous. "They do all this to raise money while having fun. The team also took 2nd place in the "obstacle course" competition, 3rd place in the “trike obstacle course” and 3rd place in the "slow ride" competition whereby the riders have to maneuver their big bikes as slow as possible through a 15' wide by 30' long U turn and come back out the other side without putting a foot down", she added, “They ride so kids can walk”.
The current Drill Team has eight members, Captain Ed Lawler, Dodd Skipper, Gary Manning, Dave More, Gill Drake, Fred Petersen, Russ Baneck and Bobby Mimmo.
The Drill Team is part of the Araba Motor Escort Patrol unit at our local Shrine; The Araba Shrine Center is located at 2010 Hanson Street, a few blocks north of the Edison Mall. You have seen the MEP in local parades doing maneuvers such as figure 8's, small circles, criss crosses and their infamous "rolling stone" maneuver which they also use as their exit move in the Drill Competitions.
Shriners raise monies for their philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children. There are 22 hospitals in North America, 20 in the US, 1 in Canada and 1 in Mexico. Our closest Shrine Hospital is in Tampa.
I was so impressed with these guys that I asked how I could become a Shriner..... so Araba's Illustrious Sir Harry Crossland gave me contact information to the Fort Myers Beach Masonic Lodge, this is the closest Masonic Lodge near my residence, apparently, you have to become a Freemason before you can be a Shriner.