Rockingham riders raise awareness, remember cancer victims
The Valley Banner
A group of 70 motorcyclists from Elkton and eastern Rockingham County left Blue Ridge Power Sports in Harrisonburg last Saturday morning for a two-hour cruise to Staunton and back.
Dubbed the “Ride 4 Pink,” the trip was staged by the local Relay for Life team, “Bikers 4 A Cure-No One Rides Alone.”
The ride had a double purpose – to raise money to fight cancer and to demonstrate that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The long-planned event was led by team captain Kay Katherman of McGaheysville and co-captain Cathy Raynes of Grottoes.
The Bikers for a Cure team began with conversations over the past year between the two women and has already raised about $1,700 through bake sales, hot dog sales and donations.
Last July, the women talked about an October ride, which they envisaged as an all-female motorcycle relay team. But as time went on, husbands and children joined in. And by last Saturday, more than 100 people, including 70 male and female motorcyclists, had arrived at the tents near Blue Ridge Power Sports to register, lend support and read literature on breast cancer provided by Rockingham Memorial Hospital.
At 10:50 a.m., Katherman give a short welcoming speech to explain the event, including the presence of Housden Photography, and the ride’s purposes. Pastor Carter Dean of the Shenandoah Assembly of God, Katherman’s church, led the group in a short prayer.
Then, at 11 a.m., the group left for Bridgewater, its first destination. It was led, on this leg, by a motorcycle officer from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office.
The cool, sunny morning provided “beautiful weather,” noted Katherman. From Bridgewater, the group rode along U.S. 11 to Churchville, and then to Shenandoah Harley-Davidson in Staunton, where the manager had prepared a free meal of hot dogs and drinks, and employees took up a spontaneous collection.
“It was an awesome ride,” said Katherman, who was leading a motorcycle ride for the first time.
Later, back at Blue Ridge Power Sports, ride participants were treated to a free lunch of barbecue, green beans, macaroni and cheese, drinks and desserts provided by an anonymous donor.
Substantial door prizes had been collected by all riders from local merchants, including discount coupons, gift cards worth up to $50 and a 24-inch Toshiba flatscreen television from Crutchfield. All these had been given away, and a raffle held, at the ride’s beginning.
Comments from participants at the ride’s end were gratifying. “I was proud to hear what people said,” Katherman related.
“‘Y’all did a great job today,’ and ‘that was a great ride, not too short and not too long,’” she reported.
Perhaps the best comment was “Get ready for next year – if you have 70 bikes on your first ride, your event is going to grow.”
It was an emotional event for many. Participants talked about loved ones they had lost or who were still fighting cancer. Several talked directly with Raynes and Katherman about their own bouts with the disease. Katherman has lost her mother, father-in-law, aunt and close friends, and was a sympathetic listener.
The ride was also a financial success. “We brought in $2,320 from entry fees and raffle tickets, raising our total for the year to about $4,000,” Katherman said. “I feel sure we will meet our goal of $10,000 by next September.” All contributions from the event go to the Relay for Life team, which will pass it on to the American Cancer Society.
The group’s next fundraising event will be a craft and bake sale held Friday, Oct. 19, and then during the annual Elkton Autumn Days festival, on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21, at 305 W. Old Spotswood Trail in the downtown triangle area.