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Different strokes: Biker Bash roars to life

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018
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Riding for a Cause

RIDING FOR A CAUSE – Jeff ‘Chopper’ Burris of the Redemption Road Crew in Hurst attended the fifth annual Full Armor Fellowship Biker Bash. The three day event held this Labor Day weekend in Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The guttural growl of Harley Davidson motorcycles and electric guitar riffs surrounded the baptismal tank at the Wise County Fairgrounds.

The Biker Bash had officially roared to life, and just outside the main stage stood a man who goes by Chopper, donning leather, tattoos and a golden grin. He and his crew were in the horde of hog riding bikers that descended upon Decatur Labor Day weekend for the Full Armor Fellowship church event.

Chopper, like many of the riders in attendance, was on the wrong road before he decided to change his ways. He was in a motorcycle club that dealt in guns and drugs, and the years of constantly looking over his shoulder, waiting to get in trouble with the law or on the wrong side of a gun were taxing.

Then God came knocking.

“I rode for the devil,” Jeff ‘Chopper’ Burris said. “God has taken me for another ride, and it’s been awesome.”

After his life change, Burris wanted to help serve. He found a church with a motocyle ministry, but didn’t think he was cut out to lead due to his past.

“I said, ‘you know where I come from and what I’ve done,” Chopper said. “But, I was told to share the word and my testimony and I told my story. I told them how I’m not dead. I’m doing God’s work and telling people if God loves me, he loves you. Some might say it can’t be done, that they can’t be saved or change their ways. I’m proof it can be done.”

For the last 17 years, he’s been part of the Redemption Road Crew. He’s president of the club, which ministers to bikers and others that are going down the same dangerous path. The group ministers and provides roadside assistance to those in need.

Burris said his ministry and bikers like him provide a valuable service in the diverse tapestry of evangelism.

He said pastors and ministers in suits and khakis have their place in God’s plan, as do the men and women who prefer wearing leather vests and traveling from place to place on two wheels.

“I have a gentleman at a church right across the street from us and they wear nice clothes and everything and then he got to talking with us and it’s true – they can reach people that are your traditional, ideal, cookie-cutter family,” he said. “Our inherited family can reach different folks. We’re here to help the ones that have been raised on the streets.”

Chopper said that’s what the Biker Bash, organized by Full Armor Fellowship Pastor Doc Dennis is all about – reaching a different audience and bringing bikers of different creeds and clubs together to ride for Jesus.

The three-day event started Saturday morning and concluded Monday afternoon, bringing the sounds of motorcycles and tourism dollars rumbling across Wise County.

In addition to sermons by Pastor Dennis, the event featured guest speakers Pastor Ray Reeder, Duche Bradley, John Grice and Julie Ziglar Norman. There was also live music provided by Casting Out, Eddie B Atomic Apostle, 10th Loper and other bands.

The baptismal tank just outside the main stage was open for any and all looking to be cleansed, organizers said.

Additionally there were monster truck rides, a car show, raffles, eating contests and pro wrestling.

Bikers from all across Texas showed up to the fifth annual Biker Bash.

Anthony Caporeso, a combat veteran and biker, came all the way from Fort Hood.

Caporaso said he saw a seermon from Pastor Doc Dennis on Facebook, and decided he needed to come down and see what the event and the church was all about.

“Doc is so full of the holy spirit, and I enjoyed the sermon so much, I came two weeks ago,” Caporaso said. “I wasn’t going to miss the Biker Bash.”

The biker from Central Texas spent most of Saturday working the gate and handing out tickets for the silent auction. When Caporaso arrived, he said he immediately asked how he could help out.

“I just wanted to lend a hand,” Caporaso.

Caporaso was born into the catholic faith but had been an agnositc most of his adult life. When his girlfiend took him to a biker church, his world changed.

“I found god,” Caporaso said. “It’s a neat little community. There’s some former trouble makers. Some, not all. You can just come as you are. There’s no judgement. I liked that.”

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