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Motorcyclists ride for Humane Society

June 26, 2005|by HEATHER KEELS

heatherk@herald-mail.com

Paul Miller, the executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, was careful to warn the approximately 200 motorcyclists who gathered at Twigg Cycles Saturday morning not to hit any squirrels.

"Pay attention," Miller warned before yelling, "Let's get it rolling," mounting his 1991 Harley-Davidson and leading the procession of revving engines out of the parking lot and on its 43-mile route to Pen Mar Park in Cascade.

The squirrels weren't the only ones to benefit from the "Bone to Be Wild" motorcycle trek, however. With donation options ranging from "The Rider" for $25 to "The Hound Dog" for $1,000, the event raised at least $18,000 for the Humane Society, event coordinator Peggy Bushey said.

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Miller said the money will help fund operations such as its spay/neuter programs and the medical costs of caring for animals.

This was the second year for the event, which also is known as the Dave Alderson Memorial Ride in memory of Bushey's husband, Dave Alderson, who died of a heart attack on Memorial Day 2003 at the age of 52.

Alderson loved planning bike weeks with his motorcycles buddies, the BoneHeads, who called him the "Hound Dog," Bushey said. Devoted to family and fun, Alderson also played guitar with a band called the Atomic Hillbillies and cared for his dog, Don, a mixed breed.

"Dave was one of those just really fun, nice guys," Bushey said. "He'd be here and loving every second of it."

Bushey, who joined the ride on her own Harley - currently red, but soon to be painted pink with white flames - said it was Alderson who introduced her to motorcycles when they were married seven years ago. She still rides several times a week.

"I like how immediate and close everything is," Bushey said. "You can smell the air, and the road's just a few inches under your feet. It's a dangerous sport, but it really is so much fun."

In addition to Alderson's motorcycle buddies, the event attracted bikers and animal lovers from throughout the county.

"My husband and I saw an advertisement at a motorcycle dealership, and because we're animal nuts and it's a nice day, we decided to come out," said Betty McCrumb, who lives outside Brunswick, Md., and owns a dog, five cats and a 1200 Sportster Harley.

The ride began at 11 a.m. at Twigg Cycles, where participants were greeted by a giant stuffed dog with a spiked collar and an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for prizes such as restaurant gift certificates, a motorcycle helmet, a Harley Barbie, a puppy doormat and dog treats.

The ride passed through Keedysville and Boonsboro on back roads as riders made their way to Pen Mar Park, where they finished the day with music and a lunch catered by Hoffman's Meats.

Last year, the event drew about 150 riders and raised about $17,000. Miller said he expects the ride to continue as an annual tradition as long as he is director.

"We're going to make it grow," Miller said.

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