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February 2013
February 2013 Quote

I am writing this on Christmas Eve. It is a bit weird writing an article that won't be published for over a month. I think it feels just a little stranger at the end of the year. As I sit here pondering a recorded interview, I find being in the spirit of Christmas has made it more meaningful, thus easier to write. It reinforces the notion that Christmas is more of a state of mind than it is a time-of-year. It is easy to be transported to that warm place where giving and brotherhood means so much. Come follow my tale and I'll try to explain.

Tyler Longriders

The Tyler Longriders have been around since 1997, when they chartered with T.M.R.A. They held meetings in Mr. Wilson's back yard... true story. They have been a major force of good in East Texas ever since. My first interaction with the club was attending an auction, and T.M.R.A. Area B meeting hosted by them, at their clubhouse. Longriders at Picnic Table The first thing I noticed was the enthusiasm the club generated. The excitement mounted - who was going to outbid whom? It seemed they always bid more than the item was worth - it was for a good cause.

The Longriders held an event in late September of last year. The event was put into the hands of some of the younger club members. They got a wet lesson in hosting motorcycle events. North Texas experienced the hardest rain of the year. The storm smacked the event squarely between the eyes. People called the clubhouse and asked if the event was going to be called off - not at a Longrider event it won't - come on, rain or shine.
Erecting Cover


Kanga began riding in 2000 on a `91 Sportster that started its life as an 883cc. Roo boosted it up to a 1200cc. Kanga has been a staunch member and avid supporter of T.M.R.A. and joined the fight for biker's rights ever since she got involved with motorcycles. You can recognize her at a Longriders function. She is the one working hard to make it all look easy. Cynthia, aka Kanga, helps out with whatever needs doing in all-things-Longrider, manages a store and campground, often writes a Longrider Club Folly article, and still finds time to write a monthly article for the Houston based Clubhouse Magazine.

Kanga (Cynthia) - Roo (Joey)

Kanga, Roo and I grabbed some chairs. We carried them to the fire pit, under the newly erected shelter. While we enjoyed the modest bonfire and the rain's tapping upon the tarp, the story of Kanga and Roo began to unfold.

Page 2

These two met just before the Hot Fun Run in 1999. Life had bounced Joey about roughly and he was in no mood to be taking on a love interest. It seems Roo had a bevy of ladies who flocked together to form a protective layer between him and any unwanted guests. Cynthia, along with two friends, liked to frequent the open-mic circuit around the Tyler area. If they hurried, they could make last call at Marshall's, a local watering hole. Initially, Roo's bodyguards were skeptical of the trio. Word spread quickly that they were gay-lesbian-narcs. As time went on, the three were accepted, maybe due to one of the girls being an exceptional singer, and everyone realized that not only was Cynthia not a lesbian, she was interested in Roo. Nature overcame all obstacles and the two became an item. Roo asked Kanga, "Why did you pick me?" She replied, "Because you give good hugs." Voila, the story of Kanga and Roo begins.


When Roo was 14 years old his mom had a green `52 Panhead; he used to ride on the gas tank. After she ran through a barbed wire fence, with them on it, she sold it and bought a `49 Studebaker. The little mishap didn't deter Roo. He soon after asked his mom when he could have a motorcycle. His mom said he could have one when he could afford to buy one. Roo then asked if he could get the one he'd been storing at Kyle's house. That is how Roo started his motorcycle life, on a BSA.

Over the years, since his BSA, he rode a variety of bikes and has a particular fondness for the Sportster. After riding a Knucklehead he bought a brand new `77 Sportster that he paid a weeks salary every month for. Even though that left him a bit strapped he rode that machine until about 1989. All these bikes gave Roo a lot of experience working on various machines.

The Fit

Roo ran independent for a number of years. He knew many of the Longriders and ran with them as well as a few other clubs. He was especially attracted to the Longriders due to their strong community commitment. I asked Roo what it takes to be a Longrider. His reply was, "Well, it takes the will to want a 40hr job that won't pay you nothin. You can get something but you can't buy it with money." Roo became a prospect in December of 2001 and a member in March of the following year.

A Story to Warm Your Hearts

The reoccurring theme, in every recounting of events in Roo's life, has been about the giving nature of the people around him, especially his club.

The Game Warden's child had a grave illness that their insurance would not cover. A benefit was planned. Fliers were pasted all over town. Roo stopped at a convenience store that displayed one of the fliers on the door. As Roo was preparing to leave a young boy stopped him and asked him if he had anything to do with the benefit. When Roo nodded in the affirmative, the young lad reached into his pocket and gave Roo his handful of money. It was $2.47.
As you can well expect, Roo was greatly moved by this uncommon display of kindness. At the auction, Roo stood up and told the story of the little boy he met at the convenience store. Between the hours of 12 and 4 in the afternoon, over $23,000 was raised for the Game Warden’s child.

This little story exemplifies what I know to be true about Kanga, Roo, and the Longriders

Kanga Roo - Shovelhead
Bike Repair (plus) -

Smith County Cycle (903) 566-3143, is at 15408 Big Oak Bay Rd. That is in the Chapel Hill/Tyler area on 7 acres between Tyler Lake and East Tyler Lake. Also nestled in the pines are an antique shop and several guest cabins that are extremely biker friendly. Y'all head on down there and get treated old-skool-country-style.

Closing Comments

I had a great time interviewing and hanging around, as I always do at a Longriders event. There was so much more I wanted to say but I only have so much room. I invite you to visit the SSOM site and see this and other articles, in color; plus more info. Internet address is below.

Well Buckaroos, we're deep into 2013. I am collecting my ideas and things for the State Rally. I hope to see you in Comanche. Ride safe, ride often, but mostly -

Ride proud, ride often, and ride safe - but mostly -
Ride em if ya go em!

Jacky Wayne "ZZ" Johnston (65)
United States Navy
November 10, 1946 ~ April 1, 2012
(The man wearing the yellow cap in
the first picture of the article)





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