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Veterans find freedom they fought for with two wheels and open Montana roads

Posted at 6:24 PM, Apr 27, 2024

Yellowstone County's American Legion Riders started its first annual Knock Off the Frost ride at its Broadwater Avenue post on Saturday.

“It’s just starting to get warm. So, we’re all kind of getting back into the groove for the riding season," said Amy "Babe" Barnhart.

The group performed safety inspections ahead of a trip to Columbus via back roads, looping to Joliet, and back to Billings.

“Riding in a column is a whole lot like going down MSR Tampa in Iraq," said Trevor "Rocky" Barnhart, a veteran and Amy's husband, "A lot of these guys are the same age, they’ve been through the same thing. So. I can relate to ‘em real good.”

Other members said, rather than a recollection of military experiences, riding is a positive way to escape some of the negative impacts from a life in service.

“I do have some PTSD. (Riding) gets me over that. It gives me a chance to get away," said David "Huckleberry" Walters, the chapter's road captain.

No matter their reason for riding, the motorcyclists said they experience a sense of freedom when they take their bikes on the road.

“They feel the wind in their face and it’s probably the closest that they feel to freedom," said Amy.