A Back The Blue Ride with about 1,000 people participating took to the streets of Tulsa Saturday morning in honor of the two Tulsa Police officers shot last month.
The event organizers say they wanted to raise money for their families in the best way they knew how: by scheduling a ride.
Hundreds of bikers showed up and thousands of dollars were raised in honor of the sacrifice made by Sgt. Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan. Fast forward to a few weeks later and people say they are still wanting to know how they could help the families. That is where the ide of a ride came in.
“The Oklahoma Gunfighters” is a motorcycle club made up of local law enforcement. They came up with the idea of a “Back the Blue” ride to raise money for the families and it quickly took off. Tulsa Police Sgt. Bobby Bryan says he and the club were so excited to be a part of something so much bigger than them.
“Johnson and Zarkeshan are family part of our blue family,” Bryan says. “We’ve put our lives in their hands and their lives in ours, so when they are in need we pull together and we help.”
Help is exactly what they did. More than 1,000 people showed up on motorcycles and in cars to show that the Tulsa community backs the blue.
“We have people from Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas here,” Bryan says.
They all say they have the same motivation, they want to keep the officers remembered long after the severity of the initial shooting happened.
“All of Tulsa’s mourning today, all of Tulsa is excited today, our town and state are excited to give back to the two great men who did so much in such a short time for us,” motorcycle rider Joe Battles says.
This group says they want to continue to do everything they can to help these families through the hardest time of their lives, whether that be simply flying a thin blue line flag on their truck or pitching in money for a fundraiser.
“It’s great, now we get to go to the families again and say the help is still coming a month later and we want to keep helping any way we can,” Bryan says.
Thousands of dollars were raised and will be split between the two families.
Bryan says they plan to make this ride an annual event, so if you missed out this year, then make sure to look out for the event next year.