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Ride for Heads in Helmets-Kansas City, Missouri

Written by  June 1, 2013

On Saturday morning, May 4, I was glad the ride from my house to Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, was only a short 16 miles. Light rain was falling, and the temperature was a chilly 37 degrees. I arrived a bit early at Lot M between Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums for the 9:00 a.m. registration, and only a few motorcycles were already there. I wondered how many bikers would show up on such a nasty day for the Ride for Heads in Helmets. Sponsored by the Kansas City Chiefs Ambassadors , O’Reilly Auto Parts



, and Blue Springs Harley-Davidson, the ride was a fundraiser for Chiefs Children’s Charities.



Ladies representing Planet Aid handled the registration duties, collecting $35 per individual and $50 per couple ride fees and selling raffle tickets. All who registered received a colorful patch, a 2013 rocker, a $10 O’Reilly Auto Parts gift card, and one raffle ticket. Participants were greeted by several former Kansas City Chiefs players including Bill Maas, Ted McKnight, Duane Clemons, Deron Cherry, Danon Hughes, Dave Lindstrom, Tony Reed, and Walter White, some of whom showed up on their own motorcycles and joined us on the ride. Chiefs cheerleaders Cricket and Molly autographed posters and posed for photos with the bikers.



A unique feature of this event was a stadium tour conducted by Ambassadors Jerry Cornelison and Al Herrera. The tour began in the Sports Lab Theater adjacent to the souvenir shop that was open for the group. The first stop was the Scout Investment Level where 126 suites are located. We viewed the 9-foot statue of Lamar Hunt who moved his football team to Kansas City and was instrumental in the formation of the American Football League that eventually merged with the N.F.L. Throughout the tour, our guides provided interesting information about the history of the Kansas City Chiefs and Arrowhead Stadium. We made a stop at the Founder’s Club and moved on to the Field Level Concourse. We viewed the Community Champions Wall displaying photographs illustrating the involvement of Chiefs players in community activities and charities.

We had the rare privilege of visiting the Chiefs’ locker room. Then we had the opportunity to go out on the football field and pose for photos. The 50-yard line was a popular spot. The tour concluded in the Chiefs Hall of Honor.



Due to the inclement weather, it was decided to abandon the original route that would have circled through Lee’s Summit, instead heading directly to Blue Springs Harley-Davidson. Several officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department provided a first-class escort, stopping Interstate 70 traffic along the way. The riders enjoyed lunch catered by Rancho Grande.



The Ride for Heads in Helmets was put together primarily by former Chiefs defensive tackle Bill Maas and O’Reilly Auto Parts employee Allan Wrinkle. I had the opportunity to visit with Bill as he prepared for an autograph session at Blue Springs Harley.



CC: Is this the first time for this ride?

Bill: Yes, this is the inaugural event. Proceeds go to the Chiefs Children’s Fund that is a 501(c)(3) charity. The Ambassadors select where the money is ultimately donated. U.S.A. Football has a program with the N.F.L. called Heads Up Football, and it targets youth concussion awareness. They teach kids in Pop Warner, the Catholic Leagues, the Police Leagues, and other kids leagues how to tackle properly and how to get fitted for helmets properly. You see lots of kids with loose helmets because their coaches haven’t received sufficient information about concussion prevention.



CC: It’s the same with motorcycling.

Bill: Yes, and it’s also the same with youth hockey, skateboarding, bicycling, and other sports. We want the kids to have the best protection available.



CC:That gives me a better understanding of the name chosen for this ride.

Bill: These days there is a heightened awareness around head trauma and concussions. People are getting the understanding that these kids may be tough and strong, but their brains aren’t. We think it’s especially important to get this awareness started at an early age.



CC: There were somewhere around 25 or 30 participants today. I know there would have been a bigger turnout with better weather. Is this going to be an annual event?

Bill: Yes, that’s the plan. We may do the Arrowhead Stadium tour again or it may be a tour of the practice facility or something along those lines. We had pre-registrations and great sponsors that made a contribution to the cause. There was a lot of interest, but Mother Nature wasn’t very cooperative.



CC: The Sheriff’s Department did a great job with the escort.

Bill: I’ve been on rides with police escorts before, but this is the first time I’ve seen them totally shut down the highway.



CC: There are people lining up for autographs. I’ll let you get to that. Thanks for the visit.



Prior to the drawing for raffle prizes, I had a good conversation with Mary Gaier and Kate Kershaw with the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater KC



They had literature available concerning brain injury prevention, recognition, and treatment. Autographed helmets were sold or raffled to contribute to the funds raised. They included a firefighter’s helmet, an army helmet, a drag racer’s helmet, and football helmets from Kansas State University, Missouri University, and the Kansas City Chiefs.



Thanks go to the Ambassadors, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Blue Springs Harley-Davidson for their sponsorship of this ride and to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department for the escort.

Stripe

Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com