Harley Grace Haggardand Melody Russell
Harley Grace Haggard

and Melody Russell
The roaring of motorcycle engines and great music will be heard this weekend at the third annual Thunder Ridge Motorcycle Rally held just outside of Philadelphia. The three-day event will kick off at 8 a.m. on Friday and last through Sunday.

Organizer Melody Russell is planning for a great event and anticipates a large turnout.

"This is our third spring event. It just gets bigger and bigger every year," said Russell.

She has been riding motorcycles all of her life. Three years ago, her dad, Orborn Lovern, had the idea to start a motorcycle rally at Thunder Ridge. He built a huge stage for entertainment. Thus, the Thunder Ridge Motorcycle Rally was born.

"The first year we had the rally, we only had about 250 participants. Last year, we had over 800 people. This year we anticipate over 1,000," said Russell.

The event features biker games, a best in show bike contest, a burnout and live music Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, a benefit ride will take place on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.

"One hundred percent of the money raised from the benefit ride will go to the American Cancer Society. We chose them because of the local teen, John Robert Irby, who is battling cancer right now," Russell said.

Bands performing Friday and Saturday include Pinnishook, Southern Amp, Burnham Road and Miles Flatt.

Vendors, selling motorcycle gear, as well as concessions, will be available during the weekend. In addition, camping spots are available for those staying the weekend.

The three-day event will conclude on Sunday with a church service and a "Blessing of the Bikes" by the Christian Motorcycle Association.

Russell is married to Bryan Russell. Bryan is a lineman for Chain Electric of Hattiesburg. They share two daughters, Madison, 19, and Harley, 12.

Working full time as a medical lab technician at Winston Medical Center, Russell has very little spare time, but cherishes her family time most of all.

"Working full time keeps me really busy, but family time is so important to me. After the tornado in Louisville last Monday [April 28], my family is even more important. I had left the hospital just before the tornado hit. I am part of the emergency callback crew, so I went back to the hospital to help," Russell said.

"We had prepped for a situation like that, but going through it was life changing. After seeing the destruction from the Louisville tornado and working at what was left of the hospital to get patients taken care of the night of the storm, it really put things in perspective for me.

"I've worked there for seven years. The people in Winston County are my family, too. Seeing them lose so much is devastating. But I have seen so much good come from the storm in just one week after it happened. People have been so good to help out giving of their time and resources to help so many of those who have lost everything. All of our stuff can be replaced, but lives can not. It has really made me cherish my family so much more," added Russell.

Thunder Ridge is located at 15891 Highway 19 north in Philadelphia. For more information about the rally, Melody Russell can be contacted at 601-416-9175.

Russell has shared some of her favorite recipes.

Easy Banana Pudding

4 ripe bananas

1 large tub of cool whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 large instant vanilla pudding

3 cups milk

1 box of vanilla wafers

First combine vanilla pudding mix with milk. Stir until thickened. Add can of sweetened condensed milk and then fold in cool whip. Layer wafers, pudding mixture, and bananas until gone.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

1 pound ground beef

1 box Velvetta mac and cheese

1 can rotel tomatoes

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Shredded cheese

Cook mac-n-cheese by box directions. Brown ground beef. Drain ground beef and mix with mac-n-cheese. Stir in soup and rotel. Put in casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 until bubbly.

Easy Mexican Casserole

1-pound lean ground beef

2-cups salsa

16 ounce) can chili beans, drained

3-cups tortilla chips, crushed

2 cups sour cream

2 ounces can sliced black olives,


1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato

2-cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Stir in salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in beans, and heat through.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread crushed tortilla chips in dish, and then spoon beef mixture over chips. Spread sour cream over beef, and sprinkle olives, green onion, and tomato over the sour cream. Top with Cheddar cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

mexican corn


2 pounds browned ground beef

8oz cream cheese

8oz salsa

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 stick of butter

1 can Mexicorn

1 can cream corn

Melt stick of butter with chili powder and cumin. Microwave cream cheese and salsa until blended. Combine this mixture with the butter, chili powder and cumin. Combine ground beef, cans of corn, and cream cheese mixture into crock pot. Let simmer for about an hour. Serve with Fritos scoops.

Chunky Cheesecake Brownies

8 ounce-package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1-cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4-cup butter

1-cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2-cup white sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4-teaspoon salt

Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir 1 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, and set a heatproof mixing bowl over the water. In the mixing bowl, combine butter with the remaining cup of chocolate chips; stir until just melted and blended together.

Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into chocolate until evenly blended. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn't need to completely cover the cream cheese layer). Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees in a greased a 9 inch square baking pan for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly.

Cut into 12 to 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.