The last thing you’d expect to see at the Hollister Rally is a bunch of grown bikers riding tricycles in a parking lot, but lo and behold it happened on July 5—and for a good cause.
Trike Night is just one example of how the Top Hatters Motorcycle Club contributes to the Emmaus House, San Benito County’s only domestic violence shelter for women and children. “They have adopted us as one of the charity organizations that they really support,” said Johny Van Dyke, board chair of Emmaus House.
Van Dyke said the club participates in several different activities each year to support the local nonprofit, including a Christmas ride where they deliver presents to kids complete with a member dressed up as Santa Claus.
Last year, the club didn’t see much happening downtown for the rally, and since the motorcycle club is right next to the Emmaus House office, the club came up with the Trike Night idea.
“We just thought we could do a little more as far as a cash donation,” said Top Hatters Mother Chapter Club President Willie Alnas.
According to Alnas, the club donated around $250 last year. This year they hoped to do a little better.
Said Van Dyke: “This year, we got a little bit more organized about it, and started to actually do some reaching out to the community, chasing some local bar and restaurant sponsorship.”
The Trike Night event generated a friendly rivalry among the local bars, in the form of a bar challenge race, where competitors race for an annual trophy and bragging rights.
Events like Trike Night are necessary for Emmaus House to maintain visibility in San Benito County.
“The house operates in kind of a quiet place,” Van Dyke said. “You know, if we’re doing our job, we’re receiving the clients that come in—dealing with that initial emergency trauma—and nobody knows about that. Partly, that’s the way it should be, to give the women the opportunity to heal themselves and move on. But that means that the general public doesn’t realize this is a community resource, and that if we don’t support it, it will go away. If it goes away, we don’t have another one.”
For the Top Hatters, part of supporting Emmaus House includes appearing silly in front of each other, as well as other motorcycle clubs and the general public. However, what’s remarkable about Trike Night is not so much that it features members of some of the most notable motorcycle clubs in the country riding tricycles in a parking lot in downtown Hollister. It’s that this all-male motorcycle club is using its image, its brand, to raise money for victims of domestic violence.
“Everybody believes that we shouldn’t beat on our women and children,” Van Dyke said. “It takes all of these guys recognizing that, and saying it out loud.”
Patrice Kuerschner, executive director of Emmaus House, would like to thank the Hollister Top Hatters and especially the MC Secretary Jim Quinley aka Q, for organizing this second annual event. Kuerschner would also like to thank: Grillin & Chillen Ale House, The Hollister House, Johnny’s Bar & Grill, Grillin & Chillin Road House, and E Clampus Vitus of Hollister for sponsoring the tricycles and also Elyxir, Firestone 805, Daisey’s Saloon, John Baptiste 1st Class Realty, God’s Warriors MC Hollister, and McAbee Feed for their contributions.