Biker Lifestyle

Bikers Ride To Break The Stigma Around Mental Health, Raise Awareness For Suicide Prevention: How they roll: Harley-Davidson riders pick Bob Seger, Black Keys and more for travel tunes

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SUAMICO, Wis. – The biker community in Brown County hit the road on Sunday for the ninth annual Suicide Prevention Ride.

The event raises an average of $4,000 every year for the Crisis Center for Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin. Participants registered for the event then rode their motorcycles from Suamico to Suring, then Green Bay, and then back to Suamico.

“We have crisis counselors available 24/7.” Tana Koss, division director of the Crisis Center, said. “They’re able to provide support to any community member feeling suicidal over the phone or in person anywhere in Brown County.”

Jeanne Parrett, who started the event nine years ago, said organizing the ride every year adds meaning to why she gets on her motorcycle.

“I’ve lost a lot of people,” Parrett said. “I have a numerous amount of friends and family members that have committed suicide. I am a suicide survivor,  many years ago I tried to take my life, and without my friends and my family I wouldn’t be here today.”

For a struggle that can often be silent in communities, these bikers are making noise.

“It’s a silent struggle, but it’s a mental illness, that people don’t realize it’s a mental disease,” Parrett said. “And for people to realize that there is help out there, and medications, and counseling, and there’s somebody there to help you through whatever you’re going through.

The bikers are breaking the stigma around mental health, hoping it inspires more people to talk about it and get help if they need it.

“It means a lot, the brotherhood and sisterhood that we put together, and everybody gathers together because it’s not like cancer where it has, trying to have a cure,” Brad Persson, a rider and event helper, said. “The cure is letting people know that there is somebody out there that will help you.”

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact the Crisis Center at 920-436-8888 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Indy Star

There are songs for roads, there are songs for seasons. If it’s an autumn day, the roads are “twisty” and the weather is cooler, then Paul Lathrop, a Harley rider and chocolatier from Iowa City, Iowa, wants to listen to Prince’s “Take Me With U” on his bike.

But his go-to song no matter the route or weather: “Generate,” by Swedish artist Eric Prydz.

For its 115th anniversary celebration that gets started Wednesday in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson organized group rides from the “four corners” of the U.S.: Seattle, San Diego; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Portland, Maine.

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Here, the Southwest riders — including Harley royalty Karen Davidson and Bill Davidson — and media crews tell us the song that energizes them the most when they’re riding on the open road. We also assembled the tunes in a Spotify playlist.

>> “Cruel Summer,” Daniel Liebt

Suggested by: Amanda “Louise” Kingsbury, IndyStar reporter covering the ride

>> “Traveller,” Chris Stapleton

Suggested by: Alejandro Garrido, Harley-Davidson #FindYourFreedom intern

>> “Beautiful Day,” U2

Suggested by: Bill Davidson, great-grandson of Harley-Davidson founder William A. Davidson

>> “Hotel California,” the Eagles

Suggested by: Tommy Korkos, Milwaukee plastic surgeon

>> “Howlin’ For You,” the Black Keys

Suggested by: J.T. Hasley, Southwest ride captain and national H.O.G. manager

>> “All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix

Suggested by: Majsan “Thelma” Bostrom, convertible co-pilot and freelance journalist

>> “Radar Love,” Golden Earring

Suggested by: Ron Hartman, Phoenix

>> “Drivin’ My Life Away,” Eddie Rabbit

Suggested by: Ted “Rebel Outlaw” Poston, Los Angeles general contractor

>> “Roll Me Away,” Bob Seger 

Suggested by: John Olin, Harley-Davidson senior vice president and chief financial officer; and Lyn “Little Miss” May, retired hairstylist, Beaumont, Texas

>> “Free Bird,” Lynyrd Skynrd

Suggested by: Karen Davidson, creative head of Harley-Davidson MotorClothes’ and great-granddaughter of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson

>> “Lonely Boy,” Black Keys

Suggested by: Brian Williams, Scottsdale, Ariz., physician

>> “Everlong,” Foo Fighters

Suggested by: Heather Malenshek, Harley-Davidson vice president of marketing (COO)

>> “Generate,” Eric Prydz

Suggested by: Paul Lathrop, Iowa City chocolatier

>> “Sweet Dreams,” Eurythmics

Suggested by: Manuel Huerta, Salt Lake City

>> “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Marvin Gaye

Suggested by: “Big Mike” Hamilton

>> “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Bon Jovi

Suggested by: Curtis “Road Warrior” May, retired refinery worker, Beaumont, Texas

>> “Ring of Fire,” Johnny Cash

Suggested by: Aaron Putnam, executive producer, Joyride Productions, Charlotte, N.C.

>> “Party in the U.S.A.,” Miley Cyrus

Suggested by: Sean “Speedy” Donahue, Austin, Texas, adventure photographer and social influencer

>> “Black Betty,” Ram Jam

Suggested by: “Secret security Mel”

>> “Meant to Be,” Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line

Suggested by: Rebecca Hasley, Milwaukee procurement officer

>> “Pretty Pimpin,” Kurt Vile

Suggested by: Ben Marias, a.k.a. “Camera Brother #1” with Joyride Productions

>> “The World Ender,” Lord Huron

Suggested by: Eli Marias, a.k.a. “Camera Brother #2” with Joyride Productions

>> “An Island,” Chevelle

Suggested by: Rick “Miller Time” Miller, Twister City Harley-Davidson, Park City, Kan.

>> “The Negative One,” Slipknot

Suggested by: Jason “Hops” Arnold, Twister City Harley-Davidson, Park City, Kan.

>> “Big Poppa,” The Notorious B.I.G.

Suggested by: Major Latimer, sound check, Joyride Productions

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Amanda Kingsbury is an editor/writer at the IndyStar. You can reach her at amanda.kingsbury@indystar.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Majsan Bostrom, freelance writer and convertible co-pilot, contributed to this report.

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