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12th Annual Ride for Ryan - St. Joseph, Missouri

Written by  June 25, 2014

Rain during the morning of June 7 hurt the attendance at the 12th Annual Ride for Ryan at St. Joseph, Missouri. Still, many riders suited up in their rain gear and headed for St. Joe Harley-Davidson for the ride to honor the memory of Ryan Consolver who lost his life on August 11, 2002, at the age of 24 in a motorcycle accident in North Kansas City. Funds raised by the event are used for a scholarship fund dedicated to students who, as Ryan did, have chosen to pursue careers in the construction industry. This year 19 students received scholarships from the fund. The 12-year total amounts to more than $130,000. There were 105 bikes in the ride this year, and about $35,000 was contributed.

As riders arrived at St. Joe Harley-Davidson, law enforcement officials were on hand to remind them that Missouri law requires motorcyclists to wear D.O.T. approved helmets. The officers also provided much-appreciated escort service for the ride. The opening ceremony was moved inside the dealership due to the inclement weather, and several scholarship recipients were on hand to show their gratitude for the assistance with their educational expenses.

By 11:30, the rain was over and the clouds began to slowly break up. The riders mounted their motorcycles at noon and prepared for departure. After the traditional release of brightly colored balloons, Ryan’s father, Rick, took the lead aboard Ryan’s rebuilt and beautifully customized Harley. The scenic route included a stop at Savannah Middle School where lunch was available with the proceeds going to Rhett, the 12-year-old son of Angie Johnson, to assist with medical expenses in Rhett’s battle with cancer.

Again this year, the ride concluded at Felix Square in downtown St. Joe. As they arrived, the bikes passed beneath an American flag and a Ride for Ryan banner suspended from the extended ladder of a local fire truck. The area around Coleman Hawkins Park was cordoned off for motorcycle parking only, and several vendors had booths set up in the park.

The program began with a very special presentation. Sixteen-year-old Eagle Scout James Kelley III was honored with a rare award, the Boy Scout’s Medal of Merit. In January, 2013, James’ younger brother was stricken with a severe asthma attack. As he was being rushed to the hospital by the boys’ father, Zachary stopped breathing and was turning blue. James got into the back seat and administered C.P.R. to his brother until they arrived at the hospital. As a result of James’ actions, Zachary survived to live eight more days. The additional time was sufficient to make arrangements to donate Zachary’s organs and save four other lives. James had learned C.P.R. as part of his training for the Boy Scout’s first aid merit badge. The award, presented by E.M.T. Noah Mayes, was a surprise for James, and he was very humble in his acceptance. Only about 6,200 Medals of Merit have been presented in the long history of the Boy Scouts.

Following the award presentation, several items were auctioned to benefit Ride for Ryan. There was also a silent auction with more than 100 items available for bidding. There was a 50/50 raffle and prizes were given for the oldest (66) and youngest (12) riders and the rider who had traveled the longest distance to attend the event (350 miles from Iowa). During her post-ride announcements Ryan’s mother, Janis, surprised the audience by informing them that she and Rick would be turning over the leadership of the Ride for Ryan team to others. Over the past 12 years, Janis and Rick have put in countless hours and worked incredibly hard to keep Ryan’s memory alive while assistance many students in the pursuit of their education. They are confident that the next generation will keep the event going for many years to come. On the Ride for Ryan Facebook page, they made the following statement, “Thank you all! If you were a rider, volunteer, auction donor, musician, spectator, relative, friend or acquaintance, Each year has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. A lot of hard work by a lot of very giving, caring relatives and friends have made this so memorable! Rick and I have been blessed for over a decade in ‘building Ryan's legacy one scholarship at a time.’ We've now passed the leadership torch to our son, Brad Consolver, to continue as he sees fit for the future of RFR. We thank you all for your love and support and the so very many new and renewed friendships we've made in past 12 years!”

Major sponsors were St. Joe Harley-Davidson, the St. Joseph downtown association, and Ken Smith Auto Body. Many others donated auction items. All support for the ride is very much appreciated. Thanks, too, to all of the volunteers and participants. Thanks to Kristina Kelley for photos of medal and Zachary.


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