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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Tampa hosts national biker club

— Tampa Bay motorists may see hundreds of motorcyclists cruising together in the Tampa Bay area this weekend as the Defenders Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club celebrates the organization’s national convention in Tampa.

The motorcycle fraternity, founded in Naples 10 years ago, has 64 chapters throughout the country, and about 800 of its members and their families will be at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay to celebrate the organization’s annual successes.

The organization brings together law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical staff and military personnel who have a fondness for touring motorcycles.

On Thursday night, the group opened the convention at the Brandon Harley Davidson. The organization will host an awards ceremony and dinner tonight at the hotel.

The highlight of the convention is the seven bridges tour through the Tampa Bay area, beginning at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Club members will ride their motorcycles over seven bridges in the area, including the Howard Frankland, the Sunshine Skyway, the Courtney Campbell and the Pinellas County Bayside Bridge.

In addition to riding their cruisers, members raise money for the families of fallen officers, the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch and the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Lt. Howard Wooden, vice president of the group’s Tampa Bay chapter.

“It’s a big honor to host the national rally,” Wooden said.

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