Don't be fooled by bikers' looks. They're tender at heart. - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Don't be fooled by bikers' looks. They're tender at heart.

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Follow a biker in Nacogdoches County this weekend and you'll end up at Bugs and Blues. The name refers to the 1200 pounds of crawfish and the live music. Then there's the characters who attend. Some like to paint their bikes, their hair and their bodies. "Partying and raising funds for Make A Wish, honey," said Starr Black with a big smile. The Rockport woman stood out in a crowd with hair dyed a bright lemonade yellow and tattoos all over her scantily clad body.

The Make A Wish Foundation knows not to be fooled by their rough and tough looks. Neither should you. "Their appearance is quite different from their heart because they are very generous at heart when it comes to children," said Cheryl Moore. She's a biker herself, but has a rather normal appearance compared to some in attendance to the East Texas Motorcycle Enthusiasts annual fundraiser. www.etmeinc.com The non-profit agency raises tens of thousands of dollars each year for children with life threatening illnesses.

It's enough to tug at J.R. Rushing's heart. "The little bitty girl's wish was she would like to have horse," recalled Rushing, a volunteer.  "By golly, she got the horse, but the sad part about it was a month later she died.  But I tell you what, it brought tears to my eyes." From that point on rushing made a commitment to not miss the event. It's been going on for about 20 years.

Bikers travel from all over Texas. Some even come from other states. The bike show with cash prizes attracts them, as well as the camaraderie. Many will be back the last weekend in September for Hawg Wild, a fundraiser for the true biker. Races and competitions will be of a serious note.  

But this weekend's event is a family event. Children in strollers and a youngster making sure no crawdads escape can be seen at the site. It's an opportunity for the East Texas Motorcycle Enthusiasts to show a side of themselves that not everyone knows about.

Bugs and Blues continues tonight and tomorrow. You'll find the gathering fourteen miles east of Nacogdoches on Hiway 21. Just follow the bikers.

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