Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Greater Kansas City H.O.G. Assists Special Olympics - Lee's Summit, Missouri

Written by  May 29, 2016

For many years, the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Harley Owners Group has provided volunteers to assist with the Special Olympics Spring track and field event. The 44th Annual Kansas City Metro Spring Games were held on Saturday, April 30. Rain fell during the early morning hours, and only three H.O.G. members were present at Blue Springs Harley-Davidson for the short 13-mile ride to the event at Lee’s Summit North High School. The rain had subsided, and only a few sprinkles were falling as Road Captain Tom Countryman led the way. Another bike joined the group at the school parking lot, and a total of eight H.O.G. members were there to volunteer.

By the time opening ceremonies began at 8:30, the rain had passed leaving broken clouds for the remainder of the day. Serving as Master of Ceremonies was Fox 4 meteorologist Michelle Bogowith. She announced the team names as the athletes paraded in front of the grandstand. The teams were Bates County Blazers, Belton Adults, Belton Schools, Blue Springs School District, Blue Springs Elementary School, Fort Osage, Grain Valley, Harrisonville, Hickman Mills Schools, Independence Middle Schools, JCPR – SPS, Lee’s Summit Schools, Lee’s Summit Adults, Liberty High School, Lone Jack, Metro Inspiration, North Kansas City Schools, Park Hill, Platte County Board of Services, Platte County R3 Higher School, Power Punch Bunch, Raymore/Peculiar Schools, Truman High School, and William Chrisman.

SOMO athletes raise funds for the Training for Life Campus, and Allen Tobin was congratulated for reaching the Silver Level, raising $2,500. Gold Level fundraisers bringing in over $5,000 were Bobby Williams, Brittany Selken, Jennifer Niehouse and Lynna Hodgson. Jennifer and Lynna were on hand to receive letter jackets presented by SOMO Board member Amy Wurst. Thanks to the fundraising efforts, SOMO is within $550,000 of the goal of $15.585 million to begin construction of the Training for Life Campus. The Color Guard from Knights of Columbus Father Donnelly Assembly #566 presented the flag, and The Star Spangled Banner was beautifully played on trumpet by Kansas City Police Department Sergeant Dwight Rhodes.

Awards for the year 2015 were presented to several Special Olympics athletes and supporters. Allen Tobin - Outstanding Athlete (22 years participating), Dwyer Family - Outstanding Family, Robin Roberts – Outstanding Coach, David and Cindy Ring – Outstanding Volunteers, Jackson County Parks & Rec - Outstanding Business/Organization Partner, Super Plunge Team of the Lee’s Summit Police Department - Outstanding Law Enforcement Partner, and Mary Kate Christy - Manuel Calderon Spirit Award. Also an expression of gratitude went out to the official area competition partners-- Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Lee Jeans, Kansas City Corporate Challenge, and Royals Charities. Thanks also went to Walmart Distribution Center – Harrisonville, AT&T Pioneers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Center Point Medical Center, Lee’s Summit Medical Center and Hy-Vee in Lee’s Summit for their support of sack lunches for the event. The Games Management Team and all of the other volunteers also received a big thank you for their efforts.

This is the 30th Anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics in Missouri. It raised more than $50 million for Special Olympics programs from all over the world in 2015. More than 100,000 law enforcement officers carried the Flame of Hope across 48 nations, and thousands more supported the runners’ efforts through special events, corporate sponsorships and Torch Run merchandise sales. The Missouri Police Chiefs Association is the founding law enforcement organization for Missouri’s Torch Run for Special Olympics. What began in 1986, as a 30-mile run, is now a four-day relay covering more than 1,000 miles with over 2,000 runners. It’s more than a run; the Torch Run is a campaign to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics. Missouri’s Torch Run is #6 in the world, raising $2,392,526 in 2015. This year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run will pass through the KC Metro Area on its way to the 2016 SOMO Summer Games at Missouri State University. Accompanied by Jeremy Verhulst of Lee’s Summit Police Department nominees for the Manuel Calderon Spirit Award carried the torch around the Lee’s Summit North track.

At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, Allen Tobin led the recitation of the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” More than 375 special athletes were ready to compete in the following events: 25-Meter Run; 25-Meter Walk; 50-Meter Run; 50-Meter Walk; 100-Meter Run; 100-Meter Walk; 200-Meter Run; 200-Meter Walk; 400-Meter Run; 400-Meter Walk; 800-Meter Run; 800-Meter Walk; 1,500-Meter Run; 4 X 100-Meter Relay; 4 X 100-Meter Unified Relay; 4 X 400-Meter Relay; Standing Long Jump, Running Long Jump, Softball Throw, Mini Turbo Javelin Throw, T-Ball Throw, Shot Put, 25-Meter Wheelchair Race; and 50-Meter Wheelchair Race.

The task for the H.O.G. volunteers was to assist with running and walking events. Jeff Blystone started the races by firing a pistol or, in some cases, dropping a flag. Some of the athletes are uncomfortable with the noise of the starter’s pistol. At the finish line, other H.O.G. members timed the competitors and recorded the results while shouting cheers of encouragement. H.O.G. worked a number of track events including running, walking, and relay, staying from start to finish. It is always an inspirational experience to watch the special athletes compete. At the end of the day, in keeping with tradition, the H.O.G. volunteers reconvened at Culver’s to enjoy some great food including ice cream.

Cycle Connections salutes all of the special athletes, staff, volunteers, and sponsors of Special Olympics and encourages donations of time and/or money to this great organization.  


Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com