Last fall, a group of committed animal lovers founded the Northland Animal Welfare Society (NAWS) with the objective of building and maintaining a care-for-life high-adoption animal shelter to serve Clay and Platte Counties, an area including the northern portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area. NAWS is looking for a 5- to 10-acre site for the facility. Presently, there is no animal shelter in the Northland that will take all dogs and cats. NAWS’ goal is to build an all-animal campus where none will be turned away.
The Society’s president is Cycle Connections staff member Goldie Arnold. An avid motorcyclist, Goldie has been involved in many charity motorcycle rides in the past, so it was only natural that one of the first big fund-raising events planned for NAWS was a motorcycle dice run. Kansas City motorcyclists have demonstrated their love for animals for 14 years by strongly supporting the annual Putt for Mutts ride to benefit the Wayside Waifs shelter in Grandview, Missouri, at the opposite end of the Kansas City metro area. The 1st Annual RUFF RIDE for NAWS took place on Saturday, June 16. Drivers of hot rods and sports cars were invited to join the motorcycles on the dice run that covered a bit over 100 miles, beginning at Jack Miller American Thunder V-Twin and making stops at St. Joe Harley-Davidson; Wood Oil near Atchison, Kansas; High Noon Saloon & Brewery in Leavenworth, Kansas; and ending at Pete’s Inn in Kansas City, Missouri. Participants paid $20 per vehicle in advance or $25 on the day of the event and received a commemorative T-shirt, a dice roll scorecard, a raffle ticket, a goodie bag, and a paw print wristband. Taylor Adcock won $100 for the high dice roll, and Tom Gray won $50 for the low score.
Chad Speicer, President of the Harley-Davidson Employee Riders Association won a Harley-Davidson leather jacket donated by St. Joe Harley-Davidson, the top raffle prize. The ERA also made a $1,000 donation to NAWS from the sale of raffle tickets for a Franklin Pewter Die Cast Softail Classic model. Only 200 tickets were sold for this limited edition piece of art. Prizes awarded for the rider and driver who traveled the farthest were custom painted hats with the RUFF RIDE theme.
The weather for the NAWS RUFF RIDE could not have been better, and the turnout was huge! Many participants, including radio personality Slacker from 99.7 KYYS, expressed their amazement at the number of riders who turned out for a first-time event. Mayor Kathy Rose from Riverside was present to give the riders a big send off, along with Britt Miller who gave the invocation before the ride departed. Slacker took the lead as nearly 300 participants headed north for St. Joe. Russ Dickey from Racin’Boys.com lead the hot-rods and sports cars out in his sporty classic Cobra. After a good ride, the post-event party at Pete’s Inn featured great food and live music. Thanks to the generous contributions of the participants and the hard work of those who planned, organized, and conducted the event, a whopping $15,000 was donated to NAWS. Sponsors and participants have already indicated their interest in being involved in the 2nd annual ride. Additional income was raised from the sale of T-shirts, RUFF RIDE hats, pet blankets, and personalized stepping stone paw prints. Since the group was formed, NAWS has raised a total of $22,000! Goldie heard many favorable comments concerning how well the event was organized and how helpful all the volunteers were.
After being invited to the Platte County Mayors Conference to introduce NAWS to the other municipalities, the City of Riverside (Mayor Rose) announced that the city would be committing $100,000 a year for five years toward the animal shelter project. NAWS Board Members are working to get others involved, including Clay County Commissioners. NAWS is the steering committee that will host three to four major fundraisers a year to help subsidize the shelter. According to Goldie, there are over 40 rescue groups in the Northland, and along with raising money, NAWS is working to increase community awareness as to how desperately this shelter is needed. The volunteers of these rescue groups work tirelessly rescuing animals, getting them to vets for vaccinations/spay/neuter (paying for this out of their own pockets), fostering them in their homes, and setting up at pet adoption locations until adoptive families can be found, somehow still finding time for their families and their jobs.
When asked what contributed to the event’s success, Goldie said, “There were several factors. First, our sponsors contributed $7,000 prior to the ride. Marketing was key factor. Life Touch Printing supplied us with full color flyers and posters that we started distributing in March, participating in parades, bike nights, cruise nights, and several radio interviews. Wherever we went, we left a flyer or poster. Also, we kept the price reasonable for the riders and passengers. The passion and commitment of the committee members and volunteers over the past six months was phenomenal, and of course we could not have done it with out all the participants. We had 80 pre-registered, and that is almost unheard of with bikers. They usually wait to see what the weather is going to be the day of the event and then decide. Amazingly, all 80 packets were picked up! I’d like to personally thank our committee members who worked so hard to bring this all together: Kris Mydler, Leisa Anderson, Karisma Olson, Bert McManus, Sherri Rickel, Katie Lappin, Kim Moore, Lesli Iiams, Tony Myers, Terry Arnold, Dean Anderson, Deb Robinson, Pat Woodson, Chris Jancich, Dawn Stevens, Samantha Lee, Jan Marengo, John Shelton, Kathy Jones, Larry Jerome, Mila Blurton, Ardith Palier, Becky Gerhart, CJ Long, Ray Long, Steve Deibler, Diane Deibler, and Kathy Plant.”
The Northland and area businesses came through with over 100 raffle items, and approximately ten “big” auction items. Jim McCollough, owner of Wabash BBQ, graciously donated his time to be auctioneer, and the after-party crowd heard some great tunes from Scotty & The Soultones who also donated a couple of hours of their time for the cause.
A big “Thank You!” goes out to all of the participants, volunteers, and sponsors for putting together a terrific event for a great cause. For more information about NAWS and to check out their long list of sponsors for this year's ride, visit their website or call 816-830-7759.
Story and photos by Stripe
Special thanks to Goldie Arnold