UPDATE: Biker Bride
by Anna Oakes
Yes, Harley orange and black leather were the colors of the day Friday, when Dawn Dove and Mark Whitescarver of Radford, Va., became the first couple to be married at the annual Boone Bike Rally, held at the High Country Fairgrounds.
Dove and Whitescarver first met about 17 years ago at a Blacksburg, Va., Dairy Queen, where Dove was working a second job. The two reconnected about four years ago, Dove said.
"It's been awesome ever since," said Dove, a private duty nurse.
Whitescarver is retired from the Radford Army Ammunition Plant.
The two spend as much time as possible hitting the road on Whitescarver's 2006 Harley Davidson Street Glide and often participate in poker runs and other charity events.
"Anywhere the bike will take us, that's where we go," Dove said. "I love the spontaneity of it. We have found so many new places and wonderful places that way, and met absolutely wonderful people."
Dove said the couple often rides the Blue Ridge Parkway and that they love the Boone area so much they have considered relocating here in the future.
"It is absolutely beautiful down here," Dove said.
Whitescarver is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization of motorcycle riders who work to ensure dignity and respect at memorial services for fallen military members, first responders and honorably discharged veterans.
At the invitation of families, the Patriot Guard Riders attend funeral services to show respect and to shield mourning family and friends from interruptions caused by protestors.
Dove said she and Whitescarver have been to several Boone Bike rallies in the past.
"We have just become really close with everyone down here. It's just really close to our heart," she said. "We felt like this would be perfect to have our wedding at."
Officiating the ceremony, held in front of the main stage at the fairgrounds, was Joe Walker, an ordained minister from Christiansburg, Va. This was not the first biker wedding for Walker, who not only married the couple, but also staged the ceremony and handled filming duties. Minutes before the wedding began, Walker directed two rows of motorcycle riders to form an aisle through which the bride would pass.
"Raise your throttle as she walks by," Walker instructed them.
Dove, dressed in a leather vest, orange blouse, black denim shorts, black flip flops and orange toenails to match, carried a bouquet of black, orange and white flowers. Waiting for her at the "altar" was Whitescarver, donning his own leather vest with patches, black T-shirt, dark brimmed hat, blue jeans, boots, full beard and blue mirrored aviators. Both wore silver bracelets to honor sacrifices made by veterans.
Several dozen gathered to watch the ceremony, including friends and family who traveled from the Radford area, as well as rally attendees.
"You are my life and the very air I breathe," Whitescarver said to Dove, reciting his vows.
Dove said she and her new husband planned to stay for the rest of the rally weekend and then obtain their marriage license in Boone early this week.
"From there, it's wherever the bike will take us," she said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated. For the updated story, go to: http://www2.wataugademocrat.com/News/story/UPDATE-Medics-unsuccessful-in-attempt-to-revive-man-at-Boone-Bike-Rally-id-015179