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Randy Scott remembered
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A long line of bikers arrive at the accident site near Trent, S.D.. The motorcyclists drove through several small towns that Randy Scott once rode through. (MPR Photo/Mark Steil)
Randy Scott and Bill Janklow are forever linked in tragedy. Janklow, the South Dakota congressman, is charged with manslaughter in Scott's death. On Saturday nearly 300 bikers gathered in southwest Minnesota to honor Scott. They prayed and called for justice.

Luverne, Minn. — Some of the motorcycle riders came hundreds of miles to honor Scott. Bill Bond rode in from the Twin Cities.

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Image Bill Bond is from Apple Valley, Minn.

"There just seems to be a real sense of fellowship, a real sense of community among bike riders. And whenever somebody can reach out and extend a hand and some sympathy and some support for a good cause like this, we have to be part of it," says Bond. The motorcycle riders gathered in the parking lot of a Luverne bar called the Howling Dog Saloon. The biker fellowship which brought them together springs from a kaleidoscope of shared emotions and experiences. Some happy, some sad, some frightening. Norm Stahl of Brandon, S.D., didn't know Randy Scott but his death still hit hard.

"You get that kind of way down gut feeling that, boy, that could have been me riding there. There's a lot of people that don't see motorcycles. They're looking for cars," says Stahl.

That sense of fate mingled with bewilderment for the bikers. They can't fathom how anyone could do what Janklow is charged with doing. If South Dakota investigators are correct, Janklow drove a two-ton Cadillac through a stop sign at 70 miles an hour. Scott's Harley Davidson motorcycle hit the car just behind the driver's door.

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Image Norm Stahl lives in Brandon, S.D.

Dick Lauseng of Aberdeen, South Dakota called Janklow "an accident waiting to happen". "I remember years ago when Janklow was governor he wanted flashing lights on his vehicle so he could speed and stuff like that. So apparently he loves speed. It just finally caught up with him. And it's too bad it was a bike. Too bad it couldn't be a semi," says Lauseng.

Like most of the riders, Lauseng is closely following the criminal case against Janklow.

"If there's something that we don't know about and it proves that it's not totally his fault, then, I mean, let him go. But, I mean, if he's totally guilty, let him get what's coming to him. He's no better than the next guy," says Lauseng.

At a news conference in September, Janklow said "he couldn't be sorrier" about the accident. In statements to the media, Scott family members have called on Janklow to explain how the accident happen. Janklow says he won't talk about it while the case is in court.

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Image Randy Scott was from Hardwick, Minn.

Janklow has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge. Bar manager Jodi Christy helped organize the memorial ride. She says she wants to honor Randy Scott's life. She says the Janklow connection keeps the memory of Scott's death fresh, and that's difficult.

"The family and friends they have to turn on the TV, the radio, open a newspaper and they have to relive that day over and over again. And this is about sharing the memories. Instead of having to think about that tragedy, this is a chance to share the good stuff," Christy says.

The bikers rode from Luverne through a series of small towns that Randy Scott once rode through -- Kenneth, Trosky, Hardwick. Hardwick was Scott's home town. Theresa Latten of Luverne watched as the bikes filled main street. She grew up in Hardwick and knew Randy Scott.

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Image Bikers pray at the accident site.

"Oh, he was amazing. Anybody that he ran into contact with, he touched them. He was always giving them hugs. He was just a super guy. It's a bad thing that this had to happen," says Latten.

From Hardwick the bikers rode to the crossroads where Randy Scott died. It's located just across the Minnesota border near Trent, South Dakota. A memorial cross to Scott hangs on a utility pole at the intersection. With typical biker flair, the crossbar ends in a pair of eagle wings.

In a brief ceremony at the site, Scott's mother Marcella asked the crowd to "always remember" her son. Some laid flowers beneath the memorial cross. Others hugged. The quiet was quickly replaced by the sounds of motorcycles. Individually and in small groups, the bikers rode off with their memories.

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