Nonprofits team with 'biker-friendly' bar

Concord's SBB Smokehouse last month kicked off a series of events that will benefit some well-known charities.

The "biker-friendly" sports bar has been open about a year and is looking to host regular events that spotlight worthy causes or honor local residents.

SBB served as a dropoff location for Second Harvest Food Bank throughout November.

It will partner with the Charlotte Concerned Bikers Association this Sunday to host the 37th annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots motorcycle run.

Some of the restaurant's staff also will participate in Speedway Children's Charities' 5K road race Dec. 10.

SBB's inaugural Holiday Heroes Tug-of-War will be 2 p.m. Dec. 17. It is open to retired or active military, police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel. Proceeds will benefit the teams' charities of choice.

David Baucom, 28, is vice president of operations for MAL Entertainment, SBB's parent company. He has lived in Charlotte for 10 years. Baucom estimated his company donates up to $20,000 per year to various charities.

"We've always been one to give back," said Baucom. "We've done night motorcycle rides that benefited Gastonia Boys and Girls Clubs. One of our nightclubs is raising money for breast cancer research. I hope to make these types of events ongoing.

"We've definitely started on a bigger push to give back with SBB."

Bikers Association president Gary Bridges, 50, said the motorcycle club organized the state's first toy run and the Charlotte chapter has spawned more than 20 other chapters throughout the state.

"You never know until the day comes, but we've had as little as seven riders - because of snow or cold - one year and as many as 1,500, but the average is 600 to 800," Bridges said before the toy run. "Everyone that rides brings a toy. Some people fill their motorcycles up, and some just bring one toy. Once, people brought carloads of toys."

Bridges said people shouldn't be intimidated by the bikers, who, more often than not, don't fit the rough stereotype.

"There'll be people dressed up as Santa Claus. They dress up as elves and ride. You'll see bikes all decorated and even some animals in holiday attire," said Bridges. "Most biker bars nowadays are just a place where a bunch of guys who enjoy riding bikes and getting together go for a beer or a meal."

Layla Bingham, 39, has lived in Concord for 10 years. She became a bartender at SBB shortly after it opened.

Bingham, her daughter, Aubrey, 10, and some of the restaurant's 30 employees, will participate in 5K event Dec. 10.

"I just thought it was a good cause," she said.

Bingham said more than 1,000 bikers were expected for the Toys for Tots run.

"When it comes to charity, bikers are very good," said Bingham. "If it's a good cause, we always have a good turnout. They're always there to help, and they're an important part of the community, but sometimes they get a bad rap."