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Daniels' leads last motorcycle ride

Gov. Mitch Daniels hopped on his Harley-Davidson Friday and led hundreds of Hoosier motorcyclists on his last annual ride.

"We've had a lot of fun doing this," he said of the eight-year tradition.

The ride is free of charge, although bikers are encouraged to make a donation to the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund. In all, more than $30,000 has been raised for Indiana's military.

The annual event, coordinated by ABATE of Indiana, has grown in attendance each year since 2005. Last year, more than 700 bikers participated in the ride through southern Indiana.

Daniels told the riders Friday that after a positive downward trend of motorcycle accidents, the number has ticked back up again this year - mostly among those who self-train.

The governor also took some questions from reporters, including how he felt about only one woman making the panel of three finalists from whom he must pick the next Indiana Supreme Court justice.

Indiana is one of only a few states without a woman on the state's highest court, and pressure is building for Daniels to use his third pick to appoint a female jurist.

Sixteen women and six men applied. Two men and one woman made the final three.

He said the judicial nominating commission sent the folks who are the best of the best and he looks forward to sitting down with all three finalists since he doesn't know them.

"I'm glad so many women stepped forward," Daniels said. "I would have been disappointed if there were none (on the final list.)"

To reach Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.