Archived Story

Registration open for Dowagiac’s Ride 4 the Homeless event

Published 8:05am Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This summer, local bikers will once again get the chance to burn rubber in a tri-county ride on the streets of Cass, Van Buren and Berrien counties.

Registration is now open for the fourth-annual Ride 4 the Homeless motorcycle and car show, which will take place on June 21 at Southwestern Michigan College. Once again, the highlight of the event will be the 85-mile motorcycle ride, which takes riders as far out as Paw Paw before returning to Dowagiac.

“The thing we’ve been told before is that it’s a ride for all level of riders,” said Jeremy Weinrick, organizer for this year’s ride. “If you like curves, the course will have some of those. If you like a straight cruise, we have plenty of stretches of with those as well.”

Weinrick originally started the local ride four years ago, along with his high school friend, Vernell Robison. The two started the event as a way to raise money for the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Decatur Family Shelter, which has experienced a decline in funding in recent years.

“I talked about a ride to raise some money for the shelter with Robison,” Weinrick said. “He took it to a group of guys we knew and they said, ‘Yeah, let’s try this.’”

That first year, 20 people and 18 bikes participated in the ride, bringing in $475.50 for the shelter.

Since then, the event has expanded to the campus of SMC, adding a car show, food stands and kids games along the way. Last year, organizers raiseed $3,000 in proceeds, with around 225 people participating in the event in one form or another.

“We’ve always had a positive response for our cause,” Weinrick said. “People are beginning to realize that homelessness can affect any type of person.”

This year, Weinrick and others with the SMCAA are looking to raise at least $6,000, he said.

In addition to the ride and car show, Ride 4 the Homeless will also have a live DJ, a bounce house provided by Judd Lumber and a dunk tank. Organizers will also bring in professional stunt rider Josh Borne, who entertained attendees at last year’s event.

“Seeing a live stunt show is much better than seeing it on TV or on YouTube,” Weinrick said.

SMCAA has also been gathering sponsors and donors for the summer event. So far, the event has received support from companies like Lyons Industries, the Paw Paw Coca-Cola plant, Mobile DJ Sound Productions and others.

Businesses can pay for three different tiers of sponsorship: a $50 donation, which will get their name on all event fliers; a $75 donation, which will get their name on all print materials and a $150 donation, which will get their name on all print and social media sites, as well as their name and logo added to t-shirts for the event.

People interested in registering in the year’s ride can do so by visiting the Ride 4 the Homeless website, ride4thehomeless.com. Registration costs $20 per bike, with an additional $5 for a second rider.

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