Annual Port Arthur bike blessing discontinued but there is an alternative

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Easter time usually means motorcycle enthusiasts take part in a special bike blessing and fundraiser to aid the Port Arthur Seafarers’ Center.

But with dwindling participation comes a change.

Officials with Seafarers’ Center are discontinuing the annual B.J. Stelly Bike Blessing after 27 years, but there is another option to support the center, as well as taking part in a bike blessing.

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The Rev. Sinclair Oubre, Apostleship of the Sea and pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, said the post-COVID number of participants, number of volunteers and fundraising taking place during the event declined.

Through nearly three decades, the event has raised more than $150,000 for the center. Officials have now shifted focus to a Texas Maritime Gala set for May that helps with the fundraising, Oubre said.

The funds, he said, help take care of and minister to those 50,000-plus mariners who visit the community every year and are part of making the Golden Triangle the third largest maritime center in the country.

Motorcyclists wishing to have their bikes blessed as the riding season begins can still do so.

Robin Troy, marketing and public relations with Cowboy Harley Davidson in Beaumont, said they are working with Redeemed Disciple Motorcycle Ministry in coordinating the new event, which starts at 9 a.m. April 8 at the Beaumont location.

Roy said there would be breakfast, a service and the bike blessing. The first 100 riders receive mini biker Bibles.

There will not be a ride this year but they will be serving lunch, and a live band will bring entertainment and a chance at fellowship.

Cowboy Harley Davidson said they do take part in charity events and have always been supportive and a sponsor of the B.J. Stelly Bike Blessing.

“We are hoping we can bring a new location and inspire it to grow again,” Troy said of the blessing.

Oubre said he would be at the Beaumont venue to offer the blessing and make announcements just as he did at the Seafarers’ Center.

During the announcements there are prayers for the upcoming year and remembrances given to those who passed away last year.

Cowboy Harley Davidson is located at 1150 Interstate 10 in Beaumont.