Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

20th Annual Bikers for Babies® RIDE - Kansas City, Kansas

Written by  October 29, 2014

Kansas City is the home of the nation’s number one Bikers for Babies® fundraiser. Starting in 1995 with 130 riders and $3,000 raised, the event has seen phenomenal growth. The 20th annual RIDE attracted more than 5,200 riders and approximately an additional 1,000 people to Kansas Speedway with donations of more than $800,000 bringing the total raised to over $7.7 million. This year’s amount included $100,000 each from the NASCAR Foundation and Kansas Speedway resulting from Don Post’s selection as the winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian of the Year Award in December, 2013, and an additional $20,000 donated by Kansas Speedway in Don’s name as a surprise announcement during the opening ceremony. Don has volunteered for many charities for 34 years, and has been a dedicated Bikers for Babies volunteer since 1995.

Pre-registration opportunities for the 2014 RIDE were provided at various sites around the Kansas City metro area over a few weeks preceding the September 21 RIDE. The locations were Kobi’s Bar & Grill, LCC Powersports, Blue Springs Harley-Davidson, Gail’s Harley-Davidson, Rawhide Harley-Davidson, and Worth Harley-Davidson. On-line and on-site registration were also available. The registration fee was $35 per participant on or before September 20 and $40 on the day of the event. Registration at Kansas Speedway on the day of the RIDE was open between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. Incentives were offered for various levels of fundraising. Chris Cakes Pancake breakfast was available from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. for those who arrived hungry.

Exciting Moto Cup Grand Prix motorcycle racing was back for the second year on the 6-turn, 2.37-mile infield road race course. Qualifying began at 8:00 a.m. with races kicking off at 9:15 featuring Hector St. John and many other professional and amateur racers.

Opening ceremonies began at 10:30 a.m. with the Presentation of the Colors by the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Honor Guard and Pipe & Drum Corps, the singing of the National Anthem by Maggie Marx, and a prayer and blessing of the bikes by Reverend Melissa Brooks. Chris Suchan and Gary Amble of the KCTV-5 weather team served as co-emcees. Event co-chairmen Penny Sharp and Don Post were on stage to welcome participants as were 19-year honorary chairman Johnny Dare from 98.9 The Rock and this year’s March of Dimes ambassador family, the Hinrichsen family from Olathe. The Hinrichsens’ story can be found on the Bikers for Babies website.

Ed Hale and his Posse are the top fundraising group not only for the Kansas City event, but also nationally. During every year’s opening ceremony it is exciting to see the bundles of cash and many rolls of coins delivered to the stage by this dedicated group. For 2014, the amount raised by Ed and his Posse was an astounding $117,000 bringing their total since 2003 to around $800,000. Ed stated that he and the posse were, “honored to have been outdone this year by someone as deserving as Don Post.” There were 71 groups/teams/families who raised large sums for March of Dimes compared to about 25 last year.

Former ambassador child Tucker Orton was on stage at the end of the opening ceremony to send the bikers on their way in his own unique style. Since this is not an escorted ride, riders set out on the 100-mile course whenever they are ready, but most depart soon after the opening ceremony concludes. Again this year Avila University cheerleaders were on hand to cheer the riders as they began the RIDE. As they came through the tunnel exiting the Kansas Speedway, participants rode through an avenue of flags and under a huge American flag suspended high between the extended ladders of two fire trucks from the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department.

Throughout the day, visitors to the NASCAR garages had the opportunity to check out numerous vendor displays and shop for event T-shirts and other merchandise. This year, KC/DC provided musical entertainment donating their time and talent. Gail’s Harley-Davidson sponsored a bike show that featured very cool entries in every class.

Every year, an infield fence is transformed into the Baby Boulevard displaying baby pictures of tiny “preemies” presented along with “look at me now” photos. Information on each child’s display includes his or her gestation period and birth weight. It is always touching to see how these incredibly tiny infants were able mature to become healthy, normal children in spite of such a difficult start.   Many of the displays are dedicated to infants who did not survive, a sad reminder that much remains to be accomplished in the field of infant care. The Baby Boulevard is a place of mixed emotions—a place to celebrate and a place to mourn, a place to shed tears of joy and of sorrow, a place to remind us why we have come and that there is still much work to be done.

The one disappointing aspect of this year’s event was the difficulty in getting lunch served to the thousands of participants. Meals were served from several food trucks offering more variety than usual but also resulting in long lines and a shortage of the meals that could be purchased using the coupons that were included in the registration packets. The committee is well aware of the situation and will make sure it is corrected for next year. The good news is that everything else went well. There were no accidents, and donations exceeded those from the previous three years. The committee reports that post-event feedback has been very positive.

This year there were 90 Grand Donors (fundraisers of $1,000 or more), an increase of 23 from last year. There were 19 who raised $2,000 or more compared to 7 last year. The Grand Donors were rewarded with an opportunity to ride a few laps around Kansas Speedway’s 1.5-mile D-shaped oval track. Beginning at 2:00 p.m. riders took to the track. One group was made up of the youngest grand donors on mini bikes.

The closing ceremony included announcements, presentation of bike show awards, and the drawing for a beautiful 2015 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic® donated by Worth Harley-Davidson. Maggie Swearingen did the honors, and Ann Saults of Worth Harley-Davidson made the announcement. Congratulations to winner Brent Christopher of Shawnee, KS! Brent has taken part in the Bikers for Babies ride since 2007 and has been a grand donor for the past several years. He was not present for the drawing but has since claimed his prize. Thanks to all who brought in donations of $100 or more and were eligible for the drawing.  

Thanks go out to the event sponsors: KQRC 98.9 The Rock; KCTV-5/KSMO-62; Price Chopper; Kansas Speedway and speedway president Pat Warren; Worth Harley-Davidson North; Kansas City Star; Gail’s Harley-Davidson; Rawhide Harley-Davidson; Blue Springs Harley-Davidson; LLC Powersports; River City T’s; Visage, Inc.; emfluence, City Rent-A-Truck; Santa Fe Tow Service; and Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine. Thanks also to all of the committee members, volunteers, vendors, and all who rode and contributed.

Much more information about the RIDE can be found on the Bikers for Babies website and on their Facebook page. To learn more about the March of Dimes please visit www.marchofdimes.com or visit www.marchofdimes.com/kansas to learn more about the Greater Kansas Chapter.

2014 Fundraising Teams raising more than $2,000:

  • Kansas City Spyder Ryders $11,497.03
  • Team L.O.V.E $8,614.30
  • Maggie’s Royal Family $7,766
  • Tucker’s Awesome Sauce Crew $7,575
  • Tail End Charlie’s $6,560
  • Team Melanie Rose $6,465
  • Brothers of Sacrifice $5,187
  • Double Trouble $4,740
  • All Systems $4,475
  • Second Chance $3,468
  • Trevor Sprague Legion Riders Post 19 $3,060
  • Team Kaydee June $3,022
  • Bradley’s Crew $2,957
  • Team Titan $2,058

Volunteers/Groups:

  • Salvation Army
  • Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA)
  • American Legion Post #19, Gardner, Kansas
  • Brotherhood for Children
  • Kansas City Roller Warriors
  • Avila University Cheer Squad
  • SACS volunteers
  • Girl Scouts
  • Whiteman Air Force Base airmen and women
  • Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department
  • Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department
  • Jefferson County, Kansas, E.M.S. and Law Enforcement officials
  • McLouth School officials (rest stop)

Photos by Stripe, Mike, & Skye

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 

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