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16th Annual Run for the Homeless

Written by  May 31, 2005

The morning of Sunday, May 1, 2005, the temperature was 36 degrees when we got on the scooter and headed out. What, you may ask, would possess us to get up and out so early on a Sunday morning in weather like that? Only a very good cause would justify it in my mind, and the 16th Annual Bikers with a Mission (BWAM) – Run for the Homeless is a cause worthy of a little discomfort. And since there was no threat of storms and tornadoes like the ones that followed us for the duration of the ride in 2003, I felt pretty lucky and the low temperatures didn’t seem so bad.

BWAM was established by Guy Girratono in 1990 and has raised over $425,000 in the 15 years since its inception. Funds raised from this event provide Kansas City’s poor and homeless with many things they might otherwise have to do without, such as baby formula, nursery equipment, eyeglasses, bus tokens for job interviews and utility assistance.

After growing accustomed to the windchill, we made our way south to meet up with friends then continued on to the Cycle Disciples clubhouse to register. As always, registration was smooth and took very little time.

In no time at all, over 600 riders were on their way to a scenic 100-mile ride through the back roads of Kansas, ending in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at the City Union Mission. I must admit, the chilly temperatures got to the group I was riding in, so we made a detour in Bonner Springs and stopped at Kobi’s for a snack and some beverages.

When we made it back to the mission, the event was in full swing. Riders were enjoying the refreshments, checking in to get their ride patches, entering the raffles and talking to old friends and making new ones. Before heading to the tent to relax and enjoy the musical entertainment, we tracked down the very busy Sandy Baldwin, Director of Community Relations for the City Union Mission. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us for a moment and allow us the opportunity to take a couple of photos, then she was back to work. We took more photos of the crowd, enjoyed talking to friends, and listened to the excellent music, which was provided by local bands Bar-Judah, Jody Jarrett and Streams of Mercy and Jeff Sheetz. At 3 p.m., the door prizes, raffle prizes and the grand prize were all awarded and many volunteers were recognized for their time and effort given to make this endeavor a success.

This year’s event raised $23,521.29, and the riding community of Kansas City is to be commended. This is a cause that attracts riders from wide and diverse backgrounds, and many riders come back every year, even when it’s raining, the temperature is cold, or storms are threatening. The vests of many participants hold rockers and pins from all 16 years.

I think it is important to note that EVERY dollar raised goes to the City Union Mission. The gracious sponsors cover all overhead. If you feel as we do and consider this cause worthy, check out and make plans to ride next year. If you aren’t a rider, visit the site anyway. New sponsors are always welcome.
Riding in 36-degree weather never made us feel so warm.

Story by Loney and
Stephanie Wilcoxson

Photos by Loney & Stephanie Wilcoxson and Stripe