The ride that bonds: Local is member of all female motorcycle club
Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 16, 2015
To some, this Pearl River County resident is known as Melissa Odom, but to the members of the all-female motorcycle club called Iron Roses she’s known as Mo.
“In the motorcycle world, nobody goes by their government name,” Mo said.
Mo is a graduate of Picayune Memorial High School and studied geology at the University of Southern Mississippi.
She currently works at John C. Stennis Space Center’s Naval Oceanographic Office.
Each year, for about two months, Mo goes out to sea to conduct oceanographic surveys.
About a year ago, on one those trips, her friend, known as Bay Boy, who is the president of the Ruthless Riders Motorcycle Club, told Mo about the benefits of riding a motorcycle and being a member of a club.
“He went on and on about what a great time he has and told me about all the charity work,” Mo said. “The first time I blew him off, but the second time he told me I became intrigued by his stories.”
After that, Mo searched Craigslist for a bike, which Bay Boy picked up for her in New Orleans.
Mo said it took her about two and a half months to learn how to ride her new bike.
First, she sat on it and walked it up and down the driveway. Then, she spent many weeks driving in a parking lot.
Last May, she passed her motorcycle safety course and received her endorsement from the DMV.
After that, Bay Boy introduced Mo to Thorn, president and founder of the Iron Roses Motorcycle Club.
In 2012, Thorn founded the club because there were no all-female motorcycle clubs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Thorn was a member of a club in Jackson, which is a three-hour drive from Pass Christian.
“Our bond is like no other,” Thorn said. “We get to do other things women do, but we take it a step further by bonding on the open road. When we have problems, we ride it out and by the time we stop to fill our tanks, we’ve forgotten about our problems.”
The Iron Roses’ patch depicts an engine, roses, three leaves and 24 diamonds, Thorn said. The engine represents unity and the roses signify the blood of Jesus. The three leaves represent the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The diamonds remind members that they are roses 24 hours a day.
Each letter in Iron Roses also has a meaning, Mo said, which include integrity, respect, outstanding, noble, riding our, steel, embracing, sisterhood.
The group’s mission statement is to promote positive social relationships amongst females while encouraging women to ride their own iron. Their goal is to raise awareness concerning women’s issues and promote true sisterhood in the community.
The group takes part in many annual events along the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas including a black history essay contest, back to school drive for school supplies, Easter egg hunt, Thanksgiving food drive and Christmas toy drive.
Recently, members attended the Picayune Rotary Club’s fishing rodeo. They also support groups such as Kids Hub and also provide donations to the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, Thorn said.
Upon request, riders will escort the family to a funeral service in the event of a fatal motorcycle accident.
They also participated in the all female ride in Lafayette, Louisiana where more than 400 women gathered, Thorn said.
“We go wherever we see a need,” Thorn said. “We travel along the Gulf Coast and even out of state.”
The group plans to establish a basic life skills workshop in Pass Christian to help current and post high school students with college applications, job interviews and dressing for success, Thorn said.
The Iron Roses has a support team, which includes members who are non-riders, Thorn said. The team is specifically for members who want to be part of a great sisterhood but don’t want to ride. Support members provide preparation for events and also drive a vehicle during a ride in case there are safety problems.
“They play a vital role in our sisterhood,” Thorn said. “We all practice safety and all our riders attend safety classes. We plan to one day offer safety classes of our own.”
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and Mo and Thorn would like to remind drivers to pay attention and be considerate of motorcycle riders. Some tips include looking twice before switching lanes and being alert and courteous.
“At the end of the day, we are trying to make it back to our families as well,” Thorn said.
Mo, who is also the club’s vice-president, said being a Rose is rewarding.
“I really enjoyed helping the children at the Rotary fishing rodeo and watching the children rush in to get their packages during our toy drives,” Mo said.
The group currently has about six members and meets once a month, Thorn said. Anyone wishing to join the club must first complete a “hang around” period, where everyone gets familiar with each other, Thorn said. After they become a prospect they will be required to complete a 90-day minimum probationary period, Thorn said.
Anyone interested in membership can contact club members at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the club through Facebook at Iron Roses MC.