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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkMexico & Banderas Bay Area News 

'Our Lady of the Favor' brings 40,000 Bikers to Jalisco

January 22, 2013

40,000 bikers converged on the town of Hostotipaquillo, Mexico last Sunday to pick up the image of 'Our Lady of the Favor' from the parish there and carry it to a soccer field where a special mass was said.

Hostotipaquillo, Mexico - Thousands of bikers rode hundreds of miles into Mexico last Sunday to have their motorcycles blessed and to pay homage to the "Our Lady of the Favor," whom they consider their patroness.

Coming from several places around Mexico and the United States, more than 40,000 bikers, according to authoritiesí estimates, roared into the small town of Hostotipaquillo in the western state of Jalisco to celebrate their annual gathering, which began with a mass.

The get-together has taken place the third Sunday in January for the past 14 years, promoted by the leader of one of the many motorcycle clubs.

Septuagenarian Guillermo Sandoval said that he rode for six hours from his native Colima in eastern Mexico to "carry the image" of Our Lady.

"Over the past five years it has twice been my honor to carry her and I come for that. Our first ride here was for that reason and it has always brought everyone good luck," he said minutes before carrying the image of the Virgin on his motorcycle.

The narrow highway leading to the village, which has around 3,500 inhabitants, resounded all weekend with the roaring motors of all kinds of motorcycles coming to the meeting.

The streets were festively prepared to receive the bikers and their families with food stalls, colorful paper decorations, and fireworks.

The visitorsí leather jackets, dark pants, sunglasses, and skull-printed do rags on their heads seemed a little too rough and out of place among the conservative little homes with religious symbols on their doors and windows.

The powerful bikes had just one purpose and that was to drive up to the parish church, pick up the image of Our Lady and carry it to a soccer field where a mass was said.

With the arrival of the pilgrims, the field became a fair at which many took the occasion to buy motorcycle accessories, grab a bite to eat, and rest after their long rides.

"Iím not much of a believer but I like to come every year to get together with my friends," biker Javier Guerrero said.