Skip to main content

Close to 500 motorcycles receive blessing

Blessing of the bikes, owatonna, 2024
The 28th annual Owatonna Bike Blessing brought together some 500 motorcyclists from across Minnesota for a day of fellowship and prayer. Staff photo by Jonny Clubb
Jonny Clubb, Staff Writer

Nearly 500 motorcyclists from across Minnesota gathered at the Steele County fairgrounds on Sunday morning for the 28th annual Owatonna Bike Blessing.

Some visitors came from as far as two hours away for the event.  According to event organizer Patrick Gavin, attendees included members of bike clubs as well as “mom and pop” bikers.

Motorcyclists began arriving at the fairgrounds around 9:30 a.m., and the group swelled to its largest size around 11 a.m. as Greg “Tiger” Ries was singing on stage.

Ries was followed by the morning’s speaker, Todd “Papa Bear Preacher” Finney, who spoke about the need for hope in today’s world, as well as the fact that Jesus died for everyone and all of their sins.

The Owatonna Bike Blessing began as just a few bikes gathering at Central Park in 1997, but it has grown significantly in the 28 intervening years.

“It’s a day of fellowship and hanging out and seeing people you only see maybe once a year…It’s a fun day of praising God and praying over people,” Gavin said.

Tiger Ries came to the event with the Jesus Saves group from the east side of St. Paul. Ries started doing music in 1982 with a polka band but became interested in Christian music about two years ago.

“Once I was saved, I started doing sound system installs for churches, and when you hear that music every Sunday, you start to pick up on the ones you like,” Ries said.

Attendees heard a number of those songs on Sunday, including Ries’ favorite, “Goodness of God.”

As Ries finished his set, Finney took the stage to speak about his faith journey.  

“Jesus brought me down here…I just want to talk about how heaven is not unreachable,” he said. “I don’t have to be the one that’s perfect, I just have to hang on to the one that is.”

The fellowship and prayers shared Sunday morning were just the beginning of what Bike Blessing attendees hope is a safe summer of riding.

Sign up for News Alerts

Subscribe to news updates