Local motorcycle club members barely missed Waco shooting

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Some motorcycle club members from Austin barely missed being in the middle of Sunday's shooting in Waco. Many bikers join motorcycle clubs -- different from motorcycle gangs -- to support one another; some even help raise money for local charities.

"It was tragic, it was shocking. It was not what we were expecting," said Melanie "Mustang" Blackett. "I know it happens elsewhere, but it doesn't happen here."

Blackett is part of the Blackett Arms Motorcycle Club. She was on her way to the restaurant in Waco on Sunday for a meeting of the biker group "Texas Confederation of Clubs & Independents." A traffic backup on Interstate 35 held them up.

"We should have been there," Blackett said, "but that accident kept us from being there by about 10 to 20 minutes after the shooting."

Blackett Arms M.C. started as a family group years ago and grew from there. For Blackett, biking is about camaraderie and common ground.

"We're professionals. We're moms, we're dads, we're even kids that ride. That's what it's about. We just like the open road," said Blackett. "We're very rooted in the community as far as getting people active in voting for biker rights and for motorcycle safety."

Blackett sports "Bandidos" colors on her helmet and vest.

"We support them. That's what this community is; it's Texas. It's a Bandido state," she said. And Blackett says in light of what happened Sunday, she knows it could be risky. "You know, the environment may change now and, I'm not gonna lie, we'll just have to be on alert."

She said that means never riding alone and traveling in groups, until the dust settles.

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