Riders reach out with their hearts, wallets

August 22, 2005|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Nearly 500 motorcyclists, most of them mounted on Harley-Davidsons, rolled along the back roads of Pennsylvania and Maryland, ending an 80-mile ride Sunday having raised nearly $36,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The ride has raised more than $300,000 for Jerry's Kids in the 17 years that M&S Harley-Davidson has been hosting the annual ride. Joan Bowers of Hagerstown, the event coordinator, said this was the 25th year that Harley Owners Groups, or HOGs, from across the country have held MDA rides.

The $35,901 raised was down from last year, when the ride raised about $38,000, Bowers said. In 2004, 574 riders laid down $20 for the ride, compared with 493 this year.


Along with the registration fee, there were T-shirt, food and souvenir sales, 50-50 tickets and a $10 per ticket raffle for a 2005 Superglide Custom valued at $15,000, according to Darren Moats, general manager at M&S Harley-Davidson.

Bowers said Sunday evening the bike was won by a Three Springs, Pa., man "and he doesn't even know it yet." Bowers said Thomas Horton was not present at the lunch at the Greencastle (Pa.) Rescue Hose Co. Special Events Center when his name was drawn.

The riders traveled mostly two-lane roads during the poker run, getting cards marked off in Chambersburg and Greencastle and three stops in between, Bowers said. At one of those stops, the Maugansville Creamery in Maugansville, the owner handed over a $1,500 donation, she said.

"It was a beautiful day for a ride. A little hot when you stopped," said Jerry Stout of Greencastle, who crossed the country in June on a Harley Ultra Classic with his wife, Shirley.

"I've been involved in the ride for seven years, but riding six," said Cheryl Humbert of Big Cove Tannery, Pa. She got involved in motorcycles after her husband, Dale, bought one several years ago.

"When he started, I never dreamed I'd be riding my own bike," she said.

The Humberts have accompanied Stout on several lengthy rides, including the big rallies in Sturges, S.D., and Daytona, Fla.

"Everywhere I've dropped a bike, Dale has been there to help me," Stout said.

The bikers left in groups big and small, and Jack Christman was waiting for some friends as the 11 a.m. registration deadline approached.

"I haven't been out on a bike for over a week, so I needed to get some riding time in," the St. Thomas, Pa., man said.

Elton Ensor of Warfordsburg, Pa., said his Harley is in the shop, so he was riding a borrowed set of wheels - a Volkswagen trike.

Perhaps the oldest rider at 80, Ensor said the first ride drew just seven bikers. The veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam is a familiar face at another annual event, the God Bless America Ride from Greencastle to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

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