Planning already underway for 10th aniversary ride in 2010, chair says
Officials with the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS are still counting the money brought in from last weekend’s ride — and in fact, the organization will continue to accept additional donations through Oct. 9 — but 2009 ride chair Laura Kerr said this week that the event is on track to return at least as much money as last year to the three beneficiary organizations.
The two-day ride covered about 165 miles in a figure-8 pattern, centered on the American Airlines Training and Conference Center and ranging northwest to Justin on Day One, and Southeast to Ovilla on Day 2. Proceeds will benefit AIDS Services of Dallas, Resource Center of Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County.
Kerr also said that this year’s event was, without a doubt, “the best, all the way around.”
“There’s no comparison. In all my years of riding, this has to be the best year I have ever experienced,” she said. “Our new route worked really well. Having the American Airlines center as our host location worked very well. We had a lot more participants, and we had a lot of inspirational participants, like Jim Frederick.”
Frederick is HIV positive and also has a viral infection called PML that attacks the white matter of the brain and can cause loss of vision, impaired speech, weakness or paralysis and cognitive degeneration. Although Frederick has trouble walking, he rode both days on a three-wheeled cycle, completing about 20 miles on the second day alone.
Kerr said, “Things like that made a huge impact on the overall emotion of the event, and that’s what keeps people coming back.”
Polly Browning came from Austin with her son and partner to participate in the ride. Her partner, Sarah, volunteered with the Lone Star Ride crew and her 14-year-old son, Sayer, participated as a cyclist. Browning said this week that after their experience, she and her family are “Lone Star Ride lifers.”
“Sayer and I could never have anticipated what this ride would mean to us in the end,” Browning said in a message to ride organizers. “I am at a loss for words for the overwhelming love felt in the company of strangers, all moving toward a common goal. Thank you … for giving myself, Sayer and Sarah the chance to share and become part of an event doing things bigger than all of us put together.”
Rider Kris Eschman applauded the “well planned and very well marked” route along with the “friendly and very helpful” crewmembers. And rider Lars Grogan called the event “the best run and most organized ride I have ever been on.”
Kerr said that the figure-8 route through North Texas, new this year, was longer by about 8 miles than routes in previous years, providing new challenges even for Lone Star Ride veterans.
“A lot of people set and met goals on a very challenging route, and I think they appreciated that,” Kerr said. “I think people enjoyed being able to come back to where they started each day. The support by the crew along the route was phenomenal, and the motorcycle and route marking crews were even better this year than ever before.”
Awards were presented during the Saturday “Camp Night” activities. Ralph Randall took top honors for fundraising among the riders, bringing in $13,834. Robert Moore followed with $7,658, and Steven Jackson raised $6,957.
While riders are required to raise at least $500, crewmembers do not have a set fundraising goal. Still, many crewmembers do raise money, and this year moto crewmember Greg Hoover brought in $1,350 to take the award for top crew fundraiser. Jason Harmon raised $1,270, and Kelly Green raised $650.
The 27-member Team Dallas Voice was the top fundraising team with a total of $23,465, and Ride With Pride had 28 members to take “largest team” honors.
Although organizers are still wrapping up the 2009 ride, they are already beginning planning for the 2010 event, which will be the 10th annual Lone Star Ride. Kerr said this week to expect next year’s ride to be even bigger and better.
“We’ve got a lot of different stuff in the works for next year, especially with the entertainment. I expect there will be few changes to the route overall, but we have new marketing campaigns in the works, and sponsors are already looking forward to jumping on board, and even sooner than before,” Kerr said. “Entertainment this year was great, and it will be even better next year, based on the verbal commitments we are already getting.”
Kerr and John Tripp Jr. will co-chair the 2010 Lone Star Ride.
The 2009 Lone Star Ride officially ends with the wrap-up party later this month at Salum restaurant, during which checks will be presented to the beneficiary organizations and people can begin registering for next year.
The “hard-core planning” for next year’s ride begins in November when the advisory board begins meeting regularly again, Kerr said.
“We have several advisory board members who were first-year riders last year when they joined the board. Now this year’s ride has gotten them excited and really infused them with a lot of great ideas for improvements and really blowing things out.
“I mean, it’s our 10th anniversary next year — how can it not be fantastic?”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2009.
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