While the Monk Pelly Elvis Tribute show that takes place Saturday, Aug. 16 at Theatre Winter Haven will be a tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, it will also serve as a near wrap-up of Pelly’s career performing as Elvis — which he has done for 35 years.
However, there is more to the concert than that; two very important and inter-related reasons. The first is to raise awareness among car, SUV and truck drivers to be aware they share roads and highways with motorcyclists. The second reason for the concert is to serve as a fundraiser for Robby Marczan.
Marczan was an employee of Pelly’s — known as Mike Pellegrini when he isn’t performing — at Elite Detail ‘N Tint, 195 N. Third Ave., Bartow. Marczan was killed in a traffic wreck in Winter Haven on March 6 when the driver of a van attempted to turn left on Cypress Gardens Boulevard onto another road.
Marczan’s parents, Gregg and Helen Marczan, and Bradley, hope some good comes out of the tragedy.
It goes without saying that life since the accident has changed. Gregg, who said he has driven motorized vehicles of one sort or another since he was 6, and who owns a custom-made motorcycle, is not as willing to ride motorcycles as much as he once did. This, despite the fact he has been in a few accidents himself while on his motorcycle.
“When something happens in your family, it makes you think differently,” said Gregg. “Even when I’m in my car, I guess I’m a little gunshy.”
As an example, nowadays, he approaches intersections more cautiously. He looks further down the road as well as looking in the rear view mirror more frequently, to see what’s coming up behind him. Always, he “prepares” an “escape plan,” just to be safe.
Helen, who passed her motorcycle license test the same day as her son, has since given up riding and sold her bike.
For Bradley, who was with Robby the day of the accident and in whose arms Robby took his last breath and died, riding his motorcycle just is not the same.
“Me and our other friend, Joey, we still ride but not as much,” said Bradley. “I’m still concerned. I also don’t drive as fast anymore.”
All three feel motorcyclists are in more peril today than ever before and cited examples they have witnessed and/or experienced.
“There’s no respect for bikers,” said Helen. “They (other drivers) just don’t care anymore.”
“People are texting, taking photos, anything but watching the road,” said Bradley.
“Nobody slows down anymore. Everyone’s in a hurry to beat the light, make one extra mile, save one whole minute just to get home,” said Gregg.
People may also not be aware of the difference between braking a vehicle versus braking a motorcycle. When a motorcyclist has to hit the brakes, it locks up, said Gregg. That’s what happened with Bradley the day of the accident. His brakes locked up.
Helen said that while roads are now “nicer,” they are more like racetracks. She also cited the number of out-of-state drivers.
“You’ve got a lot of people from out-of-state. They’re driving, drifting, because they’re lost, trying to find where they’re supposed to be going,” she said.
Bradley said that he has faced situations in which people pull up alongside him and want to race, While Gregg said he’s had incidents when people have pulled up at an intersection and hit the back of his bicycle.
All three said another factor is people pulling out too fast; that and simply not taking the time to be careful.
“I just wish people would stop and look twice,” said Helen. “If they just did this, how many lives would be saved?”
Want to go?
The Monk Pelly Elvis Tribute Artist Fundraiser for the family of Robby Marczan will take place at Theatre Winter Haven, 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd. Tickets are $15 per person, with all proceeds going to the Robby Memorial Fund. Tickets can be bought at Elite Detail ‘N Tint, 195 N. Third Ave., Bartow, 863-533-0681; and Ronnie’s Hair Design, 1382 Sixth St. NW, Winter Haven, 863-294-1970. Doors open at 6 p.m.
To learn more, visit: www.monkpellyelvisshow.com, or on Facebook: Monk Pelly Elvis Show