Print this page

2nd Annual Ride to Silence the Stigma - Shawnee, Kansas

Written by  July 1, 2014

The 2nd Annual Ride to Silence the Stigma took place on Sunday June 22, 2014 at Shawnee Cycle Plaza. This event was to raise awareness about suicide and to aid in its prevention. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in both Kansas and Missouri. More than 160 riders participated in the ride, which brought in over $12,000 for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The Kansas City Vulcan Riders Chapter 1-44 once again volunteered to help with the event and ride, and volunteers began arriving around 7:30 a.m. Registration tables were up and ready to go by 8:30 a.m., and upon arrival, you were approached by volunteers offering 50/50 raffle tickets. Near the front door to the dealership, several tables were setup to display all the great raffle items. Raffle tickets were $1 each, and you could also get 6 for $5 or 15 for $10. Upon purchasing your raffle tickets, you were able to place your tickets in raffle boxes for the particular items you were interested in winning. I’d never seen that done before, but I love the idea. Another thing I’d never seen before was a bug splat contest. The way this worked is that you purchased bug splat stickers, and once you returned from the ride, you stuck your sticker on the largest bug splat on your bike. This could be on your windshield, your headlight, or pretty much anywhere you had a huge bug splat. Many people who rode without windshields had some pretty impressive bug splats on their goggles and face shields; however, I’m not sure if that qualified.

Several vendor tents were setup in front of the dealership and around the perimeter of the parking lot, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention, and the Kansas City Vulcan Riders Chapter 1-44. Several tables and chairs were also setup under a few canopies so guests could get out of the sun and have a place to sit and relax. Several chairs were also lined up in the shade along the wall of the dealership. A large vinyl Ride to Silence the Stigma banner and several magic markers were available for everyone to sign and to write the name of their deceased loved one who they were riding for. I wrote down Radar’s name, as did several other riders.

Around 10 a.m., FOX 4 news anchor Nick Vasos took the microphone and welcomed everyone. After making a few announcements about the event and the ride, he handed the microphone over to volunteers Stacy Jones, Barb Neslon, Michael Oldfield, and Doris Sarver, who each shared a few personal things about themselves and their involvement with the organization.

At 10:15 a.m., Bjorn Nilsen held a brief safety meeting for all the riders and discussed the route. Because of the large turnout, the riders were divided into four groups. Kick stands went up at 10:30 a.m., and everyone hit the road for a scenic all Kansas ride that took us through Gardner, through Gardner Lake, Edgerton, and made a stop in Eudora where those who needed gas could fuel up. There was also a Sonic next door that several riders took advantage of due to the heat from the warm sunny day. After a short rest, we headed east on Highway 32 through Linnwood, then on to Bonner Springs, before returning to Shawnee Cycle Plaza.

We pulled into the parking lot around 2 p.m., and the band Harvest Moon was playing some great music. The Sweet Tooth’s Cupcake Cruiser was parked near the entrance, and you could smell the pulled pork, which had already attracted a group of hungry bikers, who were lined up in front of the serving table. After everyone had finished eating, the winning ticket was drawn for the 50/50 raffle, and gentleman by the name of Josh walked away with $348.50. All the raffle prize tickets were drawn, and several great prizes were handed out.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Kansas City website www.afspkc.com is an excellent resource for education, support, and for getting help for your loved one. They can also be reached at 913-620-4136.

A special thanks to Shawnee Cycle Plaza owner Barry Bunner, Event Coordinator Doris Sarvo, and the rest of their wonderful crew for sponsoring the event and for providing a great location for the ride.

Mike Schweder

Editor-in-Chief - Kansas City, MO

Mike is the original founder of Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has been riding for over 40 years, belongs to several local and national motorcycle organizations and travels to numerous rallies and events throughout the US each year. Mike has been a writer and editor for many years and has a passion for sharing his motorcycling experiences and stories with you. Contact Mike at mikes@cycleconnections.com