Local bikers remember Ben, "Giant Slayer"

Posted at 11:37 PM, Apr 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-18 02:49:50-04

The Southern San Joaquin Victory Riders are remembering 14 year old Ben Proctor Martinez as inspirational in everything in he did. 

Martinez was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2013. 

The Victory Riders learned about Ben's battle through Ben's Facebook page "Facing Ben's Giant" and learned Ben liked motorcycles so they planned a special ride. 

In March more than 100 riders joined together to surprise Ben and take him for a ride around Bakersfield. 

"His battle with cancer did not hold him down. He acted like a normal 14 year old and wanted to do everything a 14 year old could do to the best of his ability," said Kevin O'Neill, road captain with the Southern San Joaquin Victory Riders. 

Those who knew Ben said he always took his diagnosis in stride and with a sense of humor. 

O'Neill said the ride in March was memorable for everyone.

"He was so excited he couldn't contain himself. As soon as he got on the bike, he got on the road, you know he was leading about 100 riders through Bakersfield and the only thing that he could repeatedly keep saying with his fist in the air was 'Freedom! I'm free!'" said O'Neill.

The Victory Riders also made Ben an honorary member of the club, fitted with his own leather vest and road name -- Giant Slayer. 

"I will always cherish that look on his face of accepting that leather vest from a group of hard bikers that everybody had a tear in their eye. That will forever be the best memory I will cherish for him forever. 

And in March after the ride, Ben talked about how much he enjoyed the ride.

"It felt great. I like to feel the wind -- and we scared some other guy. Nothing better," joked Ben. 

Ben lost his battle with cancer last Thursday, but friends say his memory is still alive. 

"He went away pain free and peacefully, so I believe he is much happier, in a better place and just waiting for the rest of us," said O'Neill.

The Victory Riders will be holding a memorial ride, poker run and fundraiser to help raise money for Ben's hospital bills and funeral expenses on Sunday April 24, 2016.

The ride starts at Bikersfield (2622 Fairhaven Dr. Bakersfield, CA 93308). Registration is at 8:00am. 

The ride will end at Ethel's Old Corral at 11:00am and lunch is included.

It is $20 per rider, $10 per passenger and $5 per poker hand.  

For more information click here