One of the largest motorcycle events in the area is returning this weekend with activities spanning Jefferson and Orange counties.
The 26th annual BJ Stelly Bike Blessing will begin at 8 a.m. at the Port Arthur International Seafarers’ Center, 401 Houston Ave., for the blessing of the bikes. Afterward, there will be a photo ride, car show, games and food provided by Melancon Funeral Home and Boss Burger.
“It’s open to everyone; you don’t have to have a motorcycle in order to come,” said Doreen Badeaux with the Seafarers Center. “It’s quite an event.”
Rev. Sinclair Oubre will officiate the bike blessing at the entrance of the center.
Afterwards, interested riders can participate in an 18-stop tour through Southeast Texas businesses that will have a bike-blessing sign. Taking a photo with it and posting it to Facebook could earn riders a prize.
“A lot of our local merchants who are part of the stops are giving discounts,” Badeaux said. “It’s nice that our local businesses are participating.”
The stops are:
- Museum of the Gulf Coast, 700 Procter St., Port Arthur
- Veterans Memorial Park, 7626 Gulf Dr., Port Arthur
- Gabriel Funeral Home, 3800 Memorial Blvd., Port Arthur
- Sabine Pilots Services, 2605 Jimmy Johnson Blvd., Port Arthur
- Tequila’s Mexican Restaurant, 4231 Gulfway Dr., Port Arthur
- The Avenue, 1226 Port Neches Ave., Port Neches
- The Neches River Wheelhouse, 720 Lee Ave., Port Neches
- Honda/Indian of Orange, 3500 Interstate 10, Orange
- Lutcher Museum, 712 Green Ave., Orange
- Spanky’s Bar & Grill, 1703 N. 16th Str., Orange
- Orange Grove Coffee Shop, 7174 Texas 87 N., Orange
- Melancon Funeral Home, 1605 Ave. H, Nederland
- Buckstin Brewery, 1211 Boston Ave., Nederland
- Circle of Hope Benefit Trailer, 2098 Nederland Ave., Nederland
- COS Printing, 1600 Texas Ave., Bridge City
- Cowboy Harley Davidson, 1150 IH-10 S., Beaumont
- Cowboy Power Sports, 1280 IH-10 S., Beaumont
- Broussard’s Funeral Home, 1605 N. Major Dr., Beaumont
Registration is $25 and can be done in advance at PAISC.org.
Registration fees go to support the Seafarers Center.
“The center welcomes the thousands of U.S. and foreign merchant mariners that visit facilities we serve — the Port of Port Arthur, local refineries, many other docks throughout Port Arthur, Orange, Mid County and Beaumont,” Badeaux said.
During the height of the pandemic, the center shopped for and brought supplies to the mariners that were not able to leave docked ships due to fear of catching the virus. And because many of them could not return home without a vaccine, the center also partnered with area health care providers to give more than 3,500 one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The Port Arthur Health Department was the first to join, going aboard vessels and also serving crews bused to the vaccine hub. Since, Gulf Coast Health Center, the Army National Guard and Riceland HealthCare have provided assistance.
BJ Stelly was a volunteer at the center “when we were still in a double-wide trailer at the Port of Port Arthur,” Badeaux said.
The recovering addict wanted to give back to the community, so he began volunteering at the center.
“It was difficult, as he said, for him to find friends to hang out with because everyone wanted to hang out in a bar,” Badeaux said. “He was happy being at the Seafarers Center.”
Stelly helped organize the first bike-blessing event.
Two years after he began volunteering at the center, Stelly died in a motorcycle wreck.
— By Monique Batson