6 B’sJun 29, 2022 02:03PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Two men who met at Elkton High School have created an impressive network of people who agree on what’s important in life and often help out each other – and their communities.
Sturdy Wengen said he and Mike McCarter were “two kids from Cecil who only had what we could hustle.” Now they own businesses and are rich with a network of more than 5,000, mostly local guys, but also women and people living faraway.
The group is called 6 B’s, which stand for bikes, boats, babes, bad-ass rides, bullets and beer.
It’s a private Facebook group (you can ask to join by heading to its public group, 6B Network). In the real world, members often display the group logo – those six terms, surrounding a feisty bee.
Its approval process asks potential members if they support local charities and first responders and, in somewhat saltier language, if they’re good people.
“It’s debauchery with a good cause,” McCarter said. “A juggernaut of goodwill.”
The 6 B’s spell out their shared fun, and the application process bakes in a wholesome stance. “We’re not just about charity,” Wengen said, although later noting that “Mike and I have always allied themselves with people who like to help. I’ve had money, and I’ve been really broke and had to rely upon the charity of others. I’ve learned to be humble.”
“We grew up with humble beginnings,” McCarter said. “We know what it’s like to need.”
McCarter said the community “needed a group like this, but nobody knew how do it.” They applied their business and marketing skills. Wengen, 51, owns Elkton-based Forever Clean. McCarter, a 50-year-old who lives in Pike Creek, owns the Lawn Doctor of Wilmington franchise. They also perform in Shotgun Betty, which McCarter called “a blue-collar rock band.”
The 6 B’s began early in the winter of 2016-17, as sort of joke, McCarter said. The lawn business was slow, and he has lots of time to share photos online of things he liked, like bikes, cars and models posing with either.
“My phone was blowing up with hundreds of likes and notifications,” Wengen recalled, so to create some sort of order they formed the Facebook group to share similar photos, and then activities.
They were also concerned about “a lot of political unrest and that great divide all over social media,” Wengen said. “No in between. Absolutely zero compromise.”
The 6 B’s are “rooted in the same conservative values, but we have friends on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “We all drink beer.” And, it turns out group members are united in other pursuits (“Here are things we can all agree on as men”), like gun ranges and ways to travel in style.
Wengen, for instance, owns a 1954 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery, a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville, a 2013 Road King and a 1982 Shovelhead. “It’s more of a garden gnome that hangs out in the yard,” he said of the last vehicle. “I’ve had it longer than my first wife.”
After building up to 40,000 members, their Facebook group was shut down for too many content violations. Facebook’s algorithm had issues with all the pinup photos, McCarter recalled, and they didn’t want to become “keyboard warriors,” Wengen said of the time suck of monitoring.
They quickly set up to a private group in Facebook and set up guidelines for members, who often are friends of friends of friends. And as members have moved and people in the military are transferred overseas, membership has broadened substantially, but it’s still predominantly in this region.
The group’s newsfeed mixes memes, rants, notices and requests. “We try to be apolitical, but in this day and age, you can’t,” McCarter said, later calling it “a fun page that’s not politically correct.”
On the Sunday morning this paragraph was first drafted, the top posts included a request for an enclosed trailer to help out a domestic situation and this: “So my brothers and sisters and friends of my circle. I am in need to borrow a wheel chair for a brother of mine. Just for a couple of weeks. Is there anyone out here that could help?”
Within an hour, someone responded with a private message leading to a wheelchair. “That’s what our page does,” McCarter said of the fast connection. “That’s the beauty of it.”
‘Brothers and sisters and family’
Members of the 6 B’s have also helped each other out with business referrals and roadside emergencies. And they’ve also united behind individual causes (such as a jobless leukemia patient, veterans who need work done on their houses, people who lost their home in a fire) and multiple local charities (such as Firebase Lloyd, food banks in Delaware and Maryland, the Ronald McDonald house for families at Nemours Children’s Hospital, Faithful Friends).
They have decided to focus their efforts on Preston & Steve’s Camp Out for Hunger, a food drive to support Philabundance; and Delaware Special Olympics, including its Polar Bear Plunge.
In 2019, in the last holiday drive before coronavirus restrictions, they delivered 6,200 pounds of food for Philabundance.
Member Drew Beideman was the impetus for supporting Special Olympics. “It’s something true to my heart,” he said of the program for people who have intellectual and physical challenges.
As for 6 B’s, “at first it was a fun Facebook page, a bunch of guys joking around,” he said. “As it grew, I realized how it benefited the community.” And himself. “I consider them brothers and sisters and family.”
McCarter, Wengen and all the members have devoted a lot of time to charities, but the co-founders did not want to give dollar figures on donations. “We don’t want any credit,” McCarter said. “We’re just a conduit to get help where it needs to be.”
Just say “We’re a big community,” Wengen said.
“Sturdy always says ‘Do great things,’” McCarter said. “And I’m always for going above and beyond.”