Sunday, December 13, 2009

Community's treasures go hog wild to help save historic building

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Humor, sass and spirit.
The 2010 Biker Broads calendar has it all.
'And that's thanks to the wonderful models,' said Elaine Dobos of Belton, the photographer who designed each month's photo illustration. 'It wouldn't be what it is without the good nature and humor of all the ladies.'
The calendar features 14 women in, on and around Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They range in age from 65 to 100, with the youngest being Sharon Wilson, the widow of Ralph Wilson Jr., and the oldest being Mary Alice Marshall, longtime arts benefactor.
Costing $20 a piece, the calendars are a fundraising project of the 1874 Church Restoration Committee.
'It's all in effort to save the old St. Luke Episcopal Church in Belton,' said Vicky Moose, fundraising chair. 'The building's condemned, but there's a bunch of us who want to see the building stick around. It's a part of Belton.' The calendar was the brainchild of committee member Toby Young, a Belton pharmacist.
'I have great admiration for church women and church wisdom,' Young said. 'I liked 'Calendar Girls,' and I like motorcycles, so I thought it would work.'
'Calendar Girls' is a 2003 movie based on a true story about a group of women, 50 and older, who raised money for leukemia research by making a provocative calendar of themselves. Ultimately, the calendar was more successful than anyone expected.
Ms. Moose was thrilled to learn of Young's calendar idea.
'I thought it could be a fun, fabulous way to raise money,' Ms. Moose said.
So far the committee has sold more than 1,000 copies of the calendar. They will be available through the end of January.
The models have thoroughly enjoyed their Biker Broad transformation.
'Being in the calendar together was such a delightful experience,' said the 77-year-old Dominique Schofield, a.ka. Miss June. 'The calendar's funny to look at and hear about, and knowing the ages of us models - it shows that we still know how to have fun and that we still have a lot of life.'
If her picture could speak, it would echo her opinion. It shows her lifting a motorcycle into the air with one arm, quick and easy like Superman.
'That's a perfect example of how the personality and spirit of the model give life to the picture,' Ms. Dobos said. 'Ms. Schofield - she's a tough teacher from St. Mary's. I had to get that strength to come through in the picture.'
Sunny Wilson's debut as Miss April is similar.
'She's got on pink boots and a pink boa,' Ms. Dobos said. 'Those came from her own closet. It's part of her fun, happy personality.'
For Mary Alice Marshall, who will be 101 on Dec. 23, this wasn't her first time on a Harley.
'I was 95, visiting friends in Colorado,' Ms. Marshall said. 'One of them let me ride, and I tell you I squeezed him tight all the way. When I got home and went to Sunday school, I told everybody they didn't have to worry because the devil had already been shook out of me.'
Most of the calendar's photo shoots took place at Horny Toad Harley Davidson in Temple.
'We did most of the prep work there. That's where we worked with the models,' Ms. Dobos said. 'The background work came later. I hunted all over the county for the perfect scene.'
The photographer had certain colors she wanted to include.
'And I had to take the way the sky looked into account,' Ms. Dobos said. 'If it was a winter month, then it had to look like winter.'
The marrying of scene to model took place in Photoshop.
'I had to be careful to make sure everything looked natural,' Ms. Dobos said. 'I am the biggest fan of natural beauty, and the key to get it right is proportion.'
From the planning, to the photographing and image editing, the entire process took about a year's work.
'And when I got half way through it, the most awful thing happened,' Ms. Dobos said. 'My computer crashed, and I lost half the work.'
The person who came to her rescue Apollo Ascencio, an area computer technologist.
'He helped me so much,' Ms. Dobos said. 'We were able to catch up on everything and still get the calendar out on time.'
For more about the Biker Broads Calendar or to order, see www.1874church.org.

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