HOLIDAY — The bikers rode in from across the country.
From as near as Clearwater and Fort Pierce, and as far as Wisconsin and Germany, they all gathered for a fallen brother.
Hundreds of motorcycles — some projected over a thousand — rode down State Road 54 Saturday to remember Paul Anderson, 44, who was murdered last month.
Many didn’t know Anderson, but his story spread quickly after three members of a rival motorcycle club were arrested on charges that they executed him, shooting him in his truck as he sat at a red light in the middle of rush hour.
Cowards. Low lives. Scum.
The assembled bikers spat the words in the parking lot outside Holiday United Church of Christ, condemning the three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club charged with first-degree murder: Allan "Big Bee" Guinto, Christopher Brian "Durty" Cosimano and Michael Dominick "Pumpkin" Mencher.
They shook their heads at the mention of "gangs." Instead, they spoke of family and community, loyalty and respect. It’s why so many of them, they said, jumped on their bikes on a frigid January morning and rode hours to mourn a man they had never met.
"Most bikers are out there to have a good time, they’re not looking for trouble," said Bud Smith, who made the three-hour ride from Fort Pierce.
Instead, Smith said, they were there to pay respect and to honor a member of community that meant so much to them.
"In the biker world, there’s a lot of masculinity and machoness," said Tommy Douthat, a friend of Anderson’s and a member of the Prodigal Sons Motorcycle Club in Clearwater. "There’s a lot of toughness about people. But most of them have bigger hearts than the average person. Paul was one of those."
Contact Caitlin Johnston at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.