Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Give Back to Kansas City Kids

Written by  August 31, 2005

The weather was perfect for a cruise through Missouri, and, you know how riders pine for a reason to ride…what better reason than to help Kansas City kids?

You may have seen a brief excerpt on Fox 4 News or heard about people spinning the wheel for McDonald’s breakfast items or prizes with 106.5 FM’s Hilary Woods and Brian Malicoat, and, as we appreciate their support, we still need the whole story…

Solomon’s Porch Church joined forces with Worth Harley-Davidson North to sponsor the Kansas City Poker run held on July 30, 2005. All of the funds raised will be used to renovate what they call the “Youth Revitalization Plant.” It is all about building dreams for Kansas City children and keeping them off the dangerous streets. Once completed, the new youth center at 3614 Main Street. will offer physical activities such as a rock climbing wall. It will provide resources for job training and placement, college preparation and funding, GED study and testing, substance abuse counseling and group fellowship. All of these services will be “free” to the youths. WOW! The center will hold concerts and have video walls throughout. They will also have a flight school and “monster garage” where the kids can learn to work on cars and people can bring their rides in for a “coolness” makeover. Awesome!

I spoke with Solomon’s Church representatives, Troy Covey and Ron DePriest. Troy shared staggering statistics among our Kansas City youth today; average annual stats estimate that 11,000 youths will take part in violent offenses and over 3,000 will be involved in drug offenses. These numbers are realized in Kansas City, Missouri proper only. Crime in Kansas City has increased greatly over a few short years, namely 128% in drive-by shootings and murders. Solomon’s Porch Church, established seven years ago and feeding 100–150 homeless people a week, knows that to make anything healthy they need to start with the core of the problem. This youth center is part of their “Sub-Uurban Challenge” to make Kansas City better. Ron DePriest believes we can teach independence and that we are in charge of our own lives and our own destiny. We need to find our own identity. He spoke passionately about the problems youths face today. He said, “There’s another way.” I agree—we all know right from wrong—it’s the final choice you personally decide to make.

I also grabbed a few minutes with Worth Harley-Davidson North’s general manager, Ken Stone, even though the dealership was thick in its “Make Me an Offer!” campaign. They had sold approximately 175 bikes in six weeks of their eight-week promotion. Their annual customer appreciation Rock 'n Ribs event was held on Saturday, August 20 where they previewed the new 2006 models, which incorporate new frames and fenders, fat tires, and spokes. H-D has done it again!

Premier Coach Services was also represented at the dealership. Cheryl Hunter and Linda Casey gave me a tour of what most riders call a “toy hauler.” These trailers (loosely called) come fully equipped with a bathroom, sink, refrigerator, microwave, dining area and, of course, space for one or two toys. The cargo room ranged from 9’ to 13’6”. Cross-country travel has never been easier.

The roar of the engines called out and the ride began at Worth Harley-Davidson North and ended with a few words from Ron, many thanks, and a bit of food at Solomon’s Porch Church at 3600 Walnut Street. The route took you from North Kansas City to Excelsior Springs to the Battle of Lexington Civil War Park (WOW!) back to Kansas City. Police escorts blocked intersections and designated riders led the way. Worth H-D and Solomon’s split the cost and raffled a H-D Sportster at $10 per ticket. Whoa? Where’s mine?! Volunteers manned the registration tables and the card stops along the route. These volunteers and over 200 ride participants raised approximately $16,000. Amazing!

Troy Covey graciously invited me to a luncheon held at the youth center after this fantastic event. I met a number of youth ministers from Kansas and Missouri in support of the center and today’s “next generation.” As you can see from the pictures, work has begun; yet much more is needed. The first event at the center will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings through the month of October. “The Nightmare” will be a reality check that will scare the “hell” out of you. This interactive reality house depicts the life of Jesus and the price he paid. It will remind you to say to yourself - “I can…” Any riders arriving on their bikes will be given $2 off the ticket entry price. Anyone who brings a group of friends will receive VIP treatment and be moved to the front of the line.

Every day we are challenged to take steps to improve statistics. The great folks of Solomon's and Worth Harley have taken the first step. Kansas City kids need all of us to follow suit and make our own Kansas City town healthy.

Let’s all help change lives! Donations for the youth center can be made payable to “Sub-Urban Challenge” and sent to P.O. Box 10242, Kansas City, MO 64171.

Keep on ridin’!

Story and photos by Julie Van Dijk