Annual motorcycle charity ride returns next weekend

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 12, 2015

Riders from across the region will again be taking to the roads of Cass, Berrien and Van Buren counties later this month, as the fifth-annual Ride 4 the Homeless motorcycle and car show returns to Southwestern Michigan College on June 20.

The event will offer a variety of festivities for visitors to enjoy, including a stunt show by professional rider Josh Borne, a car show, food, a live DJ, and bounce house for kids. The main event of the day will be the 80-mile motorcycle ride, which will take participants through the tri-county area, stopping at Chief’s Bar in Millburg before returning to the Dowagiac college.

Proceeds from the ride and other events that day will go toward Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Decatur Family Shelter, which provides temporary shelter to families who have lost their home.

Last year’s event brought in more than $6,000, said Jeremy Weinrick, one of the organizers of the annual event.

“This year, our goal is $20,000, which is just over double our goal last year,” Weinrick said. “The group decided they wanted to go just over that amount, since we have more businesses participating than we have in the past.”

Among the companies sponsoring this year’s event are Lyons Industries, Harding’s Friendly Markets, Bonomo’s Collision Center, Coca-Cola Refreshments in Paw Paw, Dowagiac Fire Department and WIRX.

The money generated from the fundraiser is used to cover the shelter’s operational costs that are not covered by grant money, Weinrick said.

“Last year, we used some of the funding to pay for a storage shed to go on the premises,” Weinrick said. “We also used it for some emergency repairs.”

Going hand-in-hand with the larger goal and increased sponsorships, this year’s ride is shaping up to be larger than ever, due in part to the assistance of the Michigan Branch of the U.S. Patriots Motorcycle Club, which is sponsoring the event for the first time. Organizers are expecting between 60-75 bikes to be on the road that Saturday for the drive, Weinrick said.

“I never expected in a million years to see the event where it’s at now,” he said. “I figured I would have to wait at least 10 years to see to grow to this point.”

Registration opens for the ride at 9 a.m. that morning, and kicks off at 11 a.m. It costs $20 per bike to enter, plus an additional $5 for a passenger.

“I encourage anyone and everyone to participate,” Weinrick said. “You never know when you may lose your job and end up in a similar situation. Homelessness hits everywhere. It’s nondiscriminatory.”

The organizers will also be holding a carwash to raise money for the shelter this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside of Aaron’s rental store.