Volunteer Spirit: Shepherds Riding Club rolls in memory of Channon and Chris

NORTH KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- There are many ways friends and family keep Channon Christian and Chis Newsom's memory and spirit alive.

The young couple was carjacked, tortured and murdered 5 years ago in North Knoxville.

Last Sunday, a group of bikers made the grand entrance into a scholarship golf tournament in her name.

Larry Baldwin, a member of the Shepherd Riding Club says, "It was a somber moment but the quietness as the motorcycles came in, it was kind of emotional but it felt really good to be a part of it."

Just a few months ago, they packed the shed in Maryville, throwing a concert fundraiser for the families of both Channon and Chris.

Shepherd Road Manager Pete Renzulli says, "We're about 60 strong, so we have a lot of members from different areas."

The Shepherds Riding Club was established about a year ago in Channon's Memory.

Renzulli says, "Gary Christian had a dream to have a riding club.
So, we just put this club together and we are a brotherhood of riders, we support Gary and his family."

Now the Shepherds Riding Club is gearing up for the 3rd Annual Channon and Chris Memorial Motorcycle Ride, which is on June 16th.

Erin Warwick, also a Shepherd says, "It's a happy day. We remember Channon and Chris, and it's a positive day for the families. Everybody gets to come out and show support to the families, how much they stand behind them and what they are going through."

That includes years of court testimony, hearing how their children suffered in Knoxville's most torturous murders.

And these parents are about to relive it all again, as the four people convicted are set to get new trials, ordered by Judge Blackwood after the original judge, Richard Baumgartner was convicted of prescription pain pill abuse while overseeing the cases.

Erin says, "This ride, this year, I think will be a little bigger. It's a little more important since they have to go through the retrials again."

The memorial ride costs $25 per person, but it's not so much about the money, but about the memory of both Channon and Chris.

On the back of the Shepherds' leather riding vest is a patch, carried on every ride, on the Shepherds' backs and, everyday, up above.

Pete says, "It's an angel, that's what we consider Channon, she's our angel."

The ride is next Saturday June 16th.
Registration is from 11-2 at Quaker Steak and Lube off Merchants in North Knoxville.

Kickstands up at 2:30 and off to the Shed in Maryville.
There will be live music on both ends of the ride.
You don't need a bike - you can come by car, $25 a person gets you a t-shirt, a barbecue and into the Bo Bice concert in Maryville.


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