‘Making it Do What it Do’ Motorcycle Ride and Car Show nears

Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 16, 2016

3rd annual event honors Deputy Brandon Nielsen

LAPLACE — Everyone who knew the late St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Nielsen knows he loved his police motorcycle.

A “motor man,” Nielsen frequently offered his services as a motorcycle escort for weddings, funerals and visiting dignitaries in the New Orleans area. He also regularly competed in motorcycle rodeos, a competition among riders to test their maneuvering skills.

As he headed out, Nielsen often said he was just “making it do what it do.”

Nielsen was one of two St. John deputies ambushed and killed in 2012. Two other deputies were seriously wounded. In the years since, Nielsen’s family has honored his memory and his love for motorcycling by hosting the Making it Do What it Do Motorcycle Ride and Car Show.

This year’s event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 24 at the St. John Community Center, 2900 U.S. 51 in LaPlace. It will include an 80-mile escorted ride for cyclists, a car show, food and live entertainment.

“It’s a way to keep his name and his memory alive,” said Nielsen’s mother, Wendy, who organizes the annual event. “It was something he really enjoyed doing.”

The cost is $30 per motorcycle rider or car show entry in advance or $35 on site, and $15 per passenger/guest in advance or $20 on site. There is no charge for spectators. To pre-register, visit deputybrandonfoundation.org.

Proceeds will go to the Deputy Brandon J. Nielsen Memorial Foundation, which offers aid to other Louisiana families of lost officers through the Louisiana Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), which helps defray the costs of various retreats and trips to the Police Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Local motorcycle enthusiasts Marie and Bob Villere of Norco have taken part in the annual ride the past two years and plan to again this year.

“We believe it’s important to support the police officers and their families,” Marie said.

“This is a really nice event. It’s a completely escorted ride of about 80 miles. Each one has been different.”

Marie said she has even recruited friends and neighbors to go along.

“We try to get as many people as we can,” she said.

Wendy said her goal is to, one day, turn the LaPlace show into a motorcycle rodeo similar to the ones at which Brandon used to excel.

“That is my dream,” she said.