Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

2014 Ride for Kids - Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  October 29, 2014

It was a beautiful, bright, crisp Sunday morning on September the 21, 2014, as hundreds of bikes rolled into the Barber Motorsports Park in anticipation of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundations “Ride for Kids” event in Alabama.

These rides held all over the country throughout the year, and this one just so happens to be the one in our state, and is without a doubt, the best and most rewarding events we’ve done over past nine years, hands down! We get to follow these bright wonderful kids as they grow up, and I love it! Each year they get to become honorary bikers for the day, which is put on by the Ride for Kids club, Alabama chapter.

The added online registration and donation makes it easy to register ahead of time, so on the day of the event, you can just show up, check in, and enjoy the day. Everyone comes away from this event knowing you did a really good thing, and enjoyed every minute of it. All the kids greatly appreciate all the riders who come out to participate in the event. Watching the kids get their faces painted or get a balloon animal made for them as they get ready to ride is always a fun way to start the day. The person making balloon animals also made a motorcycle for one kid, which was so cool that I wanted one too!

It’s pretty evident by all the volunteers who show up, that this is a very special event for so many people. There were donuts donated for breakfast, BBQ for lunch, along with Bud’s best cookies. That is something that is so very important to the success of any event, and most of them are not so well represented. That is due in large part to Mrs. Stacy Hershey. They were making fun of her for changing her name several times in the past several years, but she has the best and sweetest last name now—HERSHEY!

Before mounting up for the hour-long scenic ride through the country, escorted by the State and Jefferson Country, we were briefed on how the day would play out, along with a brief safety speech. We then we had the pleasure of hearing from Miss Bayleigh, one of the bright “stars” of the day. We learned that she has a beautiful voice as she shared a song with us all.

Upon returning to Barber Motorsports Park, the ride was escorted out for a 2-3-lap trip around the track. A special thank goes out to the car owners who had the track rented for the day. They are always super nice about allowing us to get out there while they are on lunch break, and that is huge, because it’s not cheap to rent the track for a day. Thanks again guys! I know the escorts got as big a kick out of being on the track as the bikers did.

After getting “their race on,” everyone came back for lunch, and to thank the top fundraisers and all the riders for their efforts. We always try to get new people to the ride each year, and this year we had some friends join us who are members of the Faith Riders in Leeds, Alabama.

The Ride for Kids sponsor Honda donated several bikes to be given away at this event throughout the country. I don’t know how we get so lucky, but Alabama is one of the states that always receive a bike to give away. It’s always nice to be able to come away from a fundraiser event with a brand new Honda motorcycle, right?

This year, for the first time, there was no mandatory donation; however, there was a suggested donation in the amount of $40. Our hopes are that people like us, make that donation anyway. After all was said and done, this year they walked away with a big check in the amount of $74,339.24. As you could guess, that is not all from the ride, but more importantly, from the many wonderful, big-hearted folks who spend the year raising funds for the event.

The event is wrapped up each year with interviews from the stars of the day, which are the kids. They really enjoy this part of the event. The stars who took the stage this year were Matt, Krissy, Zack, Molly and Bayleigh. These kids were thrilled to be there, and have such a wonderful out look on life. It makes you feel bad for complaining about some of the stupid things in our lives. We have truly enjoyed watching these kids grow over the years, and we feel like part of the family who gets together once a year for a family reunion.

If you would like to be a part of this heart-warming event, or if you would like to make a donation, please go to www.rideforkids.org.

Also, a big thank you to Jeff, Mark and Barber Motorsports for all of their help, and for allowing this event to take place on their beautiful property.