Motorcycle ride to kick off ‘Rock The Badges’police, fire fundraiser
by BRIAN NADIG
The “Rock The Badges IV” music festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., will kick off with a 70-mile motorcycle ride that will help generate publicity for the annual fund-raiser, which benefits first-responder families.
Response to news that a charity ride was being added to the festival’s schedule has been overwhelming, said Chuck DeCicco, president of the Chicago Chapter of the Iron Justice Motorcycle Club, the ride’s sponsor. “I’d be happy with 150 bikes, but it might swell to 350, 400 bikes,” said DeCicco, a 16th (Jefferson Park) District officer.
Registration for the ride starts at 10 a.m. on the day of the festival, and the two-hour ride will commence at noon. The cost is $20 for riders and $15 for passengers, and each receives admission to the festival and a t-shirt.
Riders will travel in a northwesterly direction into the suburbs, turning around at the 35-mile mark, and police in each municipality will be asked to help with traffic control so that the riders can all travel through intersections at the same time.
“It’s good to have the group stay together. It’s safer,” DeCicco said. Iron Justice, which was founded in 1998, has chapters in Chicago, and Lake and McHenry counties, and most of its members are active or retired law enforcement officers.
Proceeds from the festival are donated to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which provides support to the families of officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty, and Ignite The Spirit, which helps Chicago firefighters in need. The annual event has netted about $40,000 for these charities since 2013.
The outdoor festival, which will run from noon to 11 p.m., will feature eight bands, each of which has at least one police officer or firefighter in it.
However, unlike past years, there will not be a battle of the bands competition between the police and firefighter bands due to a lack of available firefighter bands, said event founder Chicago police lieutenant John Garrido. “It’s just first responders playing great music, with things for kids to do,” Garrido said.
Activities will include a face painter, a bouncy house, a climbing wall, and a scheduled visit by the Chicago Police Department Mounted Patrol Unit, and new to the festival will be a 30 craft beer sampling garden.
Admission, which includes one drink ticket, is $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets are available at www.rockthebadges.com