Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Patriot Express Dice Run - Kansas City, Missouri

Written by  September 30, 2011

On Sunday, August 28, about 100 riders gathered at Finnigan’s Hall in North Kansas City, Missouri, for a dice run to raise money for 1st Marine Division Benevolent Fund and for Fisher House, a non-profit organization providing assistance to military families during hospitalization, illness, or injury. Registration kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with each participant receiving a goodie bag including a small American flag, bandana, and other items. Prior to the beginning of the ride, bikers watched as Terry Franz of Cars4Heroes presented a minivan to a vet and his family who were in need of transportation. You can view the presentation here on our You Tube video.

Carol Diaz welcomed the riders on behalf of Patriot Express, and Mike Ward described the route and stressed the importance of safe riding. Some bikers set out in small groups, but most chose to form a large group as they headed out on the route. The first leg was a short one ending at V.F.W. Post 3976 in Sugar Creek. Next, the group headed for Lexington where they participated in an escorted parade through the town square before stopping at Wentworth Military Academy & College where they were welcomed by Commandant 1Sg Gary Willis. It was impressive to watch the cadets as they marched into the chapel where everyone had the privilege of hearing from special guest Dave Barr.

Dave is an absolutely amazing motivational and inspirational speaker. In 1969, at the age of 17, Dave began his military career with the United States Marine Corps. He served on a helicopter gunship in Vietnam and was awarded 57 air medals. Leaving the Marines in 1972, Dave still felt the need to fight for a cause. He was a soldier in Israel, later in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia, and finally in South Africa. In 1981 a landmine explosion nearly killed him and resulted ultimately in the amputation of both of his legs. Showing amazing determination, Dave was eventually able to return to active duty and complete his military career. After leaving the military, he undertook a series of epic world motorcycle tours, setting two Guinness World Records in the process. He is a well-known author and motivational speaker and is a member of the A.M.A. Motorcycle Hall of Fame. More information about Dave Barr is available on various websites including his own. His remarks at Wentworth were well received by cadets and bikers alike.

After lunch, dice roll, and door prize drawings at Lexington’s V.F.W. Post 4052, the next dice roll was at the Polo American Legion Hall. That was the only leg of the roughly 130-mile route where participants had to deal with some rain. At the stop at Excelsior Springs’ Veterans Memorial, the group was introduced to 92-year-old Frank Mattivi. He is the last surviving member of the Darby Rangers, an elite fighting group specially trained by the British and the beginning of what we now know as the Army Rangers.

The final stop on the ride was V.F.W. Post 5717 in Kearney. The band Lonesome Jake provided entertainment with Mike Ward on drums. There was a tie for the high dice roll total of 80. Dan Orr won a suite stay at the Elms Resort & Spa in Excelsior Springs, and Steve Wittbroz won a three-day weekend bike rental from Gail's Harley-Davidson. Low Roll winner with 50 was David Huffman who won four tickets to a concert at Knuckleheads Saloon.

Plans originally called for a display of vintage military vehicles and a motorcycle stunt show, but both were called off due to different circumstances. One impressive vehicle that did show up was Rick Riddle’s fire truck originally from Thiells, New York.

According to Carol, the event raised about $6,000 after expenses, an increase from the prior year. Patriot Express is always open to suggestions and new ideas and welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer for events. Carol said, “a big 'Thank You!’ goes out to all who came out for the ride, the sponsors, the Lexington V.F.W. for hosting the lunch, Excelsior Springs V.F.W./American Legion for all the help, Colonel Cotrell at Wentworth, Cheri McCollough and the committee for BBQ on the River in Excelsior Springs, Dave Barr, and, of course, all the volunteers.”

Article and photos by Stripe