Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Ride for Kids – Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  September 27, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015 was such a beautiful and slightly cool morning as the glistening dew on the grass greeted the bikes that rolled into Barber Motorsports Park for the Ride for Kid’s benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

This event has been around for over 30 years, with rides taking place throughout the year in most of the states around the country, and is the only one (around here anyway) that actually involves some of the kids.

Upon arrival clowns were painting the kid’s faces, and the faces of some of the adults well. Some were making balloon critters and there as a lot of activity as people registered, ate donuts, and readied their bikes special passengers. We also saw the cute as hell little mo-hawk & shades wearing pooch that’s been making the ride for several years now, and apparently loving every minute of it. He’s very well mannered, and just sits and poses for the many people who stop to take his picture.

After a brief safety speech from the Alabama State Troopers, Matt and the rest of the bikers saddled up and headed out on an hour long escorted scenic ride before coming back to the park for a few hot laps on the track.

As it turned out, because the folks who had the track for the weekend were running a little behind schedule and were still using the track, the bikers were told that the track was still “Hot” and their time out there would have to take place after lunch instead of before. These people are nice enough to lend their lunch and down time to the ride, so we just had to work with their schedule.

Lunch was provided by Rusty’s BBQ, which was really good. Chips and cold drinks were also provided. After a quick bite, there was the matter of dispensing of the “loot,” which included a Honda motorcycle for one lucky ticket holder. It was also a time of reflection as Avery’s mom, Gene Ann, spoke to the crowd about her precious little girls outlook on her all too short life, and their heartfelt appreciation for this event and all of the riders who participated. We all laughed and cried with her. She hitched a ride this year with Mr. Bill Smith, who along with Stacy Hershey, have been long time supporters and Task Force Leaders for the ride.

Brian Peters, with ABC 33/40 was the Co-Emcee again this year, along with Associate National Director, Jerry Harvey, who we were told will be stepping down after this year. That’s a sad thing for all of us, as he will be sorely missed. Jerry has a lot of passion for what he does, and for all of these kids and that comes out in listening to him interview the stars of the day - the kids!

Mr. Peters told the crowd he was not going to stay behind this year when everyone left out on the ride, so he hitched a ride this year in one of the trooper cars! Too Funny!

Mr. Matt, Zack, Bayleigh, and Krissie were the spotlight stars for the day. It’s so touching to listen to these kids talk about all the great achievements in their lives, and it’s our privilege to watch them grow up. We’ve been involved with this ride for 10 years now, and it’s one of those things we look forward to and do our best to get new people on board every year. It’s nice to see a lot of hands go up when asked if there were any first time riders. This is such a heart warming, touching, much needed and well appreciated event to be a small part of, and we want to share that feeling with the world! To show their love and support for these rides, some of the Task Force Leaders have been known to go and support each other’s events. They had a few who traveled all the way from Indiana, Texas and Georgia. Thank You!

This is also the time to thank all of the people who donated their time and money, and to give recognition to the high fundraisers. Among those is key sponsor for years, Honda; who donate several bikes to be given away at the Ride for Kids Rides throughout the country. Alabama just happens to be lucky enough to be one of those lucky states to receive one, and they also donate a whopping $10,000 on top of that!

Mr. Ken Gray was the lucky recipient of the new Honda motorcycle, and when Jerry asked him how many tickets he bought to get that bike he replied, “Just one!” All you need is just one!

When lunch, the interviews, and giveaways were said and done, everyone got three laps on the track.

The ride and its donators brought in a total of: $61,374, for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, which made it a great day!