LOUISBURG, Kan. — A charity motorcycle run in Miami County turned into a confusing cruise this past weekend.
A Kansas City metro nonprofit uses the ride to raise money for Christmas gifts for less fortunate kids. However their organizer says police made them feel unwanted.
No one can argue that Louisburg, Kansas was aware motorcycles were coming on Saturday. Riders from this weekend’s “Night Train Run” shared images with FOX4.
Michael Bergen has led the event since the 1980s. FOX4 cameras have been with him at the holiday season when his “Hands to Heart” nonprofit delivered toys to children in need. The motorcycle run and auction raises money for the toys.
“In 51 bike runs over 26 years, I’ve never been treated this way,” Bergen said. “I don’t understand why he shut it down.
Bergen is referring to Louisburg Police Chief Josh Weber. A Saturday fundraiser for Bergen’s group was scheduled outside Bub’s Bar and Grill.
Louisburg police allowed FOX4 to see body camera video from Saturday where Weber informed riders the event wouldn’t be allowed.
Weber can be heard explaining the event was permitted for 300 bikes but at least 100 more showed up and that the bar didn’t use proper barricades and that traffic was unlawfully blocked by bikes.
“He could have handled this a lot differently,” Bergen said. “We were only going to be there for one hour. If he would have let us come in and do what we’ve been doing for all these years.
Weber emphasizes the bikers weren’t told to leave. They could stay if they followed the permit’s provisions but everyone left.
Dawn Ralle, who owns Bub’s Bar and Grill, said all of her paperwork with the city was in order, including insurance she purchased for the event, approval from the city council and permission from alcohol control. The patriotic-themed tavern is dedicated to fallen American soldiers.
“We were following all the correct lines for this,” she said. “We are trying to build this run, this benefit up to the biggest it’s ever been. I think we could have succeeded had this debacle not transpired.”
The police video also shows Weber offering to contact KDOT to block traffic for the bikers as they left.
Bergen says he has no plans to bring his charity event back to Louisburg.
The City of Louisburg’s council plans a special session to discuss this situation on Tuesday at 6 p.m. It’s said to be a closed-door meeting.