If the weather was an indication, the late Russell Haluapo was smiling Sunday when more than 200 motorcycle enthusiasts representing the Kaua‘i Motorcycle Coalition collected at the Historic County Building with toys for the Boys &Girls Club.
“This is a big run,” said John Copeland of the Koa Puna Motorcycle Club. “We’ve got more than 200 riders here today remembering Russell. We even have Russell’s bike up front to lead the ride up north.”
Copeland said the Sunday ride is a continuation of a legacy built by Haluapo, who used to host keiki toy rides for keiki who somehow fell through the cracks at the holidays.
“We even brought Russell,” said JoAnn Haluapo, Russell’s sister. “He’s riding with Charles and Christina Lee.” She ws speaking of her brother’s ashes.
Tina Albao of the Boys &Girls Club was excited with the entire event that included motorcycles and riders spilling across the road fronting the Historic County Building on Rice Strret.
Her smartphone worked ceaselessly to capture the special shirts that graced certain club members, and gripped a “Mahalo Russell” trucker’s cap that someone thrust in her hand.
“This is so exciting,” Albao said. “The motorcycle riders are so awesome. They don’t just help us during the holidays when we need to worry about our members. The motorcycle riders, especially Russell, also help us during back to school, when our members can use school supplies. I have a video of Russell dancing with our members during the last back-to-school event.”
One of the riders said the Sunday ride was not just to get toys. It represented Haluapo’s efforts at pulling the different clubs together as the Kaua‘i Motorcycle Coalition.
Motorcycle riders represent the numerous motorcycle groups on the island, including the Ali‘i’s of Hawai‘i, Koa Puna, Mana Souls, Sons of Hawai‘i, Sons of Kaua‘i and Pacific Savages.
Dennis Esaki of the Sons of Hawai‘i and Paula Rosa of the Sons of Kaua‘i offered the prayer and doxology before the group adjourned to Kilauea before returning to Lydgate Park for fellowship and remembrance of the fallen motorcycle rider.
“We’re going past the airport,” one rider said as the group dispersed to their individual rides. “Russell would’ve done that too.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.