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The City Journals

Motor Madness brings together businesses, cars, and causes

Aug 22, 2019 05:33PM ● By Alison Brimley

A 1927 Ford on display at Motor Madness. (Alison Brimley/City Journals)

By Alison Brimley | [email protected]

West Jordan’s Motor Madness event, sponsored by the West Jordan Chamber of Commerce, took place July 27 with the aim of showcasing local businesses—and showing off some classic cars, too. 

Stroll through the parking lot of the shopping center at 7800 South and Redwood Road that day and you’d see an array of 1920s Ford Roadsters, a bright red 1940 Chevy pickup truck, a 1960s Thunderbird and more. To add to the nostalgic atmosphere, hits from the iconic groups of the 50s and 60s—including those most melodious of car enthusiasts, the Beach Boys—hovered in the air. 

The West Jordan Chamber of Commerce, according to its president, Aisza Wilde, is an independent organization that promotes and protects the interests of businesses in West Jordan. Chamber members present at Motor Madness included GoldenWest and American United credit unions, Huntington Learning Center, Title Boxing Club and more. Ken Garff and Quick Quack Car Wash, which is opening a second West Jordan location soon, are major sponsors. Food trucks from Waffle Love and Dali Crepes, also members of the chamber, offered food for sale.

Wilde estimated more than 60 cars registered for the event, which was about double the number of the previous year. But automobile motors weren’t the only ones on display. The many motorcycles buzzing around the event almost stole the show, especially at 1 p.m. when dozens came roaring in a line into the parking lot. These bikers wore jackets with matching patches on the back declaring them members of the Sober Riders Motorcycle Club. They had just completed a ride that took them from Sandy to Antelope Island and finally to Motor Madness. 

The Wasatch Front chapter of Sober Riders does several such rides every year in Utah, with the goal of providing encouragement and support to recovering addicts and alcoholics. A biker who wants to ride with them may have been sober for years or for 24 hours.

“It doesn’t matter to us as long as you’re willing to stay clean and sober,” said one rider who goes by the name Whistler. 

In addition to supporting each other, the Sober Riders raise money to benefit the community. One-third of their proceeds benefit the Christmas Box House, a short-term residence in Salt Lake City for children in state custody.

Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) also brought a delegation of riders who had come to spread awareness of the services they offer to the community. The president of the Wasatch Front chapter, who goes by Bull Dog, explained that BACA got started when a clinical therapist who worked with abused children in Utah County realized that “all the work he was doing inside his office was good,” but that “things were falling apart for these kids on the outside.” 

The founder’s impulse to make a real difference in someone’s life lives on in those who ride with BACA today. One member, Olaf, said he was first inspired to join BACA when he began to feel that an occasional service project to help the hungry around Thanksgiving and Christmas wasn’t “being genuine.” Joining BACA allowed him to bring together two of his passions—biking and helping others—and to make community service a more regular part of his life. 

BACA’s members aim to be physically present to provide support to children, whether that requires them to attend a court hearing where a child will need to testify, or to be on-call to help a child who doesn’t feel safe in his or her environment. Members must pass a federal background check and ride with BACA for over a year before they qualify to provide this kind of support, and all their involvement is at the child’s request. 

Bull Dog explained that by attending Motor Madness, BACA hoped to simply raise awareness of their organization. 

The way we get our information out is by handing out pamphlets, telling who we are, what we do, [saying] ‘If you know anyone that needs our help, here’s our information,’” he said.