LSR Journal: Changing tactics to address changing needs

2011 LSRFA co-chairs John Tripp and Danny Simpson lead the annual fundraising event into a new decade

LSRFA-Simpson.Tripp
LSRFA Co-chairs Danny Simpson, left, and John Tripp (Photo courtesy Roger Lippert)

M.M. Adjarian  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

This year — 2011 — marks the first year of the second decade that Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS has been in existence. For event co-chairs John

Tripp and Danny Simpson, it’s the beginning of a new era for both the organization and in the struggle to eradicate a devastating disease.

Tripp and Simpson have a big job. As co-chairs, they are tasked with keeping LSRFA organizers and cyclists motivated to keep going throughout the year and focused on the September weekend when the event actually takes place.

“Everybody knows why we are here, but at the end of the day, we’re all volunteers. [John and I] are the [organization’s] cheerleaders,” says Simpson, a portfolio revenue manager for the International Hotels Group.

Both men came to the LSRFA in 2008. But where Tripp, a resources professional for Deloitte & Touche, started — and still continues on — as a cyclist, Simpson started as the organization’s events and ceremonies planner.

The pair finally began working together as co-chairs this year. Their goal is simple: to build upon the foundation established by their predecessors and grow the ride.

Achieving that goal has been a challenge — but one they welcome.

“We’re really focused on getting our brand out there and getting recognized and making people understand who we are,” says Simpson.

Adds Tripp, “[It’s vital that we can communicate] with our community to say, ‘This is our story and this is why we do what we do.’”

The co-chairs also plan on transforming the LSRFA by making the actual ride more visible than it has been in the past.

“This year, one of the things that [event manager] Jerry Calumn heard unanimously from all riders was that they wanted a route that was more visible and could be seen by communities we were supporting,” Tripp explains. “There are serious pockets of our community that have never heard of us and have lived in Dallas-Fort Worth for many years.”

Partnering with fundraisers such as Neiman Marcus’ Fashion’s Night Out and Audi Dallas’ Casino Night is yet another operational change that Tripp and Simpson are currently overseeing.

As deeply committed to the organization as the two men are, neither has much time to spare. But the sacrifice is well worth it and is, in their eyes, a necessity.

Observes Tripp, “HIV infection rates are skyrocketing within minority communities, the LGBT community [and among members of] the youngest generations, but now that people aren’t dying, the disease is not as high profile.”

The medications that now exist to control HIV/AIDS are at the heart of this newest twist in the epidemic. While the medications have saved countless lives, they have also given rise to a dangerous complacency that if left unchecked, make HIV/AIDS become even deadlier than it already is.

“What [really] frustrates me is that the younger generation isn’t understanding that they’ll face drastic differences in their aging process because of HIV,” Tripp says. “ Their organs are going to have to deal with these medicines for the rest of their lives.”

And with the economy in a weakened state, supporting organizations that provide services for those suffering from HIV/AIDS has now become more critical than ever before.

“If you are lucky and have healthcare,” says Tripp, who is HIV-positive, “you could probably survive on and afford your medications every month for anywhere from $240 to $2,000 per year. What happens, though, if you run out of your healthcare or are suddenly unemployed?”

The AIDS crisis has not gone away; it’s only changed form in a world that has also changed. Combating it will require new tactics, but Tripp and Simpson are up to the challenge and boldly look forward to joining with others in the fight.

“[You may be] upset that you are having to help other people and are having to help them pay for their medicines through social welfare programs,” says Tripp.  “[But] what are you doing to fight [the disease]?”

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS will be held Sept. 24-25. To donate to an individual rider, to a team or to the Ride itself, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 12.10.10

Minehart leaves Lone Star Ride after three years as event manager

Lone Star Ride Event Manager Dave Minehart has announced he will leave the ride at the end of this month. He has accepted a new position as development director for a nonprofit organization in his hometown, Iowa City, Iowa. He has been in Texas for the past 28 years but over the past seven, his goal has been to move closer to family.

Minehart participated in all 10 Lone Star Rides, the last three as event manager.

Laura Kerr is the incoming board chair. Co-chairs of the ride are John Tripp and Danny Simpson. Tripp co-chaired the ride this year and Simpson has been responsible for fundraising events outside the ride and participated in it for a number of years.

GAIN holding holiday social, taking up donations for Silver Star Room

GAIN, an organization for mature LGBT people, will hold its annual December Social Event Thursday, Dec. 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. Those attending are asked to bring canned food items and personal car items to donate to those at the Adult Protective Services Silver Star Rooms, a facility specifically for people over 65 who have been abused or neglected in their homes. A list of needed items is available online in the GAIN section at RCDallas.org.

GAIN is a program of Resource Center Dallas.

TGRA, UCLSE joining to host Hard Candy Christmas benefit

Texas Gay Rodeo Association of Dallas and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire will host the annual “Hard Candy Christmas” benefit show and auction Saturday, Dec. 11, at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. The evening begins with Christmas Cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by the show and auction at 7 p.m. MCs are Donna Dumae and Trisha Davis.

Broadway star Sam Harris performing benefit concert at CoH

Sam Harris will peform a benefit concert Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary at Cathedral of Hope to raise money for the church’s Interfaith Peace Chapel. Tickets are $20 and are available at the church. For information call 214-351-1901.

Consultant seeking LGBT coming out stories for upcoming anthology

Consultant Sonia Friedrich is looking for LGBT people to contribute their personal coming out stories to the anthology Coming Out: Personal stories that will make you smile, laugh, shudder and cry.

Ideally, stories should be between 300 and 1,500 words, with the maximum length being 3,000 words. Those who haven’t come out can also submit their stories on why they haven’t.

Stories will be edited and can be anonymous.

For more information or to submit a story please contact soniafriedrich@virginbroad- band.com.au.

Friends nightclub hosting ‘Toys for Tots’ benefit in Gun Barrel City

Friends Nightclub, 410 S. Gun Barrel Lane in Gun Barrel City, hosts “Reva’s and Rusty’s Annual Toys for Tots” benefit show Saturday, Dec. 11, beginning at 9 p.m.

The event is held in conjunction with the Family Resource Center and the Gun Barrel City police and fire departments and helps raise money and collect toys for underprivileged children in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

Suggested donation at the door is $5 or a new, unwrapped toys. Tips given to performers during the show will be used to purchase toys to donate as well.

Tarrant County Gay Pride Week holding membership meeting

The annual organizational meeting for Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association will be held Sunday, Dec. 19, beginning at 3 p.m. at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth. Topics for discussion include closing out business for 2010, voting on new officers and advisory council members, proposed rules and regulation changes for 2011 and an overview of Prideevents planned for 2011.

The meeting is open to all interested people and everyone signed in at the meeting is eligible to vote. The Miss, Mr. and Ms. HoHoHo contest will be held at 8 p.m. that evening, also at Best Friends. Packets for anyone interested in competing are available at the bar.

Tickets on sale now for Women’s Chorus of Dallas concert at Wyly

Tickets are now available for The Women’s Chorus of Dallas’ first performance of its 22nd concert season, “Love & Light,” being held Sunday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. at AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Wyly Theater.

In addition to the children’s choir from Good Shepherd Episcopal School, the concert will also fearture Tony-Award winner Victoria Clark.

Tickets are on sale now from the AT&T Performing Arts Center. To charge by phone, call 214-880-0202 purchase tickets online at attpac.org. Tickets are also available for the after-party with Clark.

Johnson, West co-hosting town hall on upcoming legislative session

State Rep. Eric Johnson and state Sen. Royce West will co-host a Legislative Town Hall Meeting Tuesday, Dec. 14, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center, 4500 Spring Ave.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the upcoming 82nd session of the Texas Legislature and how the two lawmakers will work together to address the issues facing their constituents. In particular, their remarks will focus on the process of drawing new Congressional and state legislative districts following the decennial United States Census and the impact of the Texas’ expected budget deficit on services provided by the state.

Following their remarks, the floor will be open for questions and comments.

Additionally, a representative from Baylor’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute will present information on community resources available to help fight diabetes. Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center is home to Baylor’s Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Minehart announces departure from Lone Star Ride

Dave Minehart

Dave Minehart announced he will leave the Lone Star Ride. He has participated in the ride for all 10 years of its existence, the first seven as a volunteer and the last three as event manager.

He has accepted a new position as development director for a nonprofit organization in his hometown, Iowa City, Iowa. He has been in Texas for the past 28 years but over the past seven, his goal has been to move closer to family.

“I’m leaving you in very, very capable hands,” Minehart said.

Laura Kerr is the incoming board chair. Co-chairs of the ride are John Tripp and Danny Simpson. Tripp co-chaired the ride this year and Simpson has been responsible for fundraising events outside the ride and participated in it for a number of years.

Minehart said he hopes to be at Lone Star Ride next year, depending on his schedule with his new job.

“Lone Star Ride is on a role and it’s going to keep going,” he said. “I hold extreme affection for the event, the people involved and the beneficiaries.”

His last day at Lone Star Ride is Dec. 27 and he begins his new job on Jan. 5.

—  David Taffet

Lone Star Ride set to pedal the Metroplex

Annual bike ride leaves from American Airlines conference center on Saturday and returns Sunday

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

READY TO RIDE  |  Volunteers pack goodie bags before the start of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center will split the proceeds.
READY TO RIDE | Volunteers pack goodie bags before the start of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center will split the proceeds.

Close to 200 bicyclists will be pedaling their way across the Metroplex this weekend, supported by about the same number of crew members staffing pit stops, sweep vehicles, the moto crew and other support positions, as part of the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

The ride again benefits three DFW AIDS service organizations: AIDS Services of Dallas, Resource Center Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Fort Worth.

Laura Kerr and John Tripp, LSR co-chairs, said Monday, Sept. 20, that they were pleased with how smoothly the final stages of preparations were going, thanks to the efforts of the Lone Star Ride council and committee chairs.

“I’m really not stressed at all, thanks to these people,” Kerr said with a sweep of her arm, indicating council members and committee chairs who had gathered at Resource Center Dallas to fill “goodie bags” that will be handed out to riders and crew members. “This council has exceeded all our expectations.”

Tripp agreed. “This council has done an amazing job this year,” he said. “They have stayed focused on doing what they set out to do, and they have accomplished their goals.”

Tripp said organizers had reached their primary goals for the 10th anniversary of the fundraising ride.

“We wanted to grow the ride, and we did that. We wanted to register more riders this year, and then we wanted to retain more riders throughout the year, and we have done that. I think we are in very good shape,” he said.

Kerr explained that more than 200 people had registered over the past 12 months as riders. In the past, as many as 25 percent of those who registered to ride eventually dropped out or switched over to crew positions before the day of the ride.

But this year’s rider retention rate, she said, is much higher.

Kerr and Tripp credited that to Michael Mack and Dennis Pilgrim, co-chairs of the rider retention committee.

Pilgrim and Mack, both in their second year as riders with LSR, said they had created a training program that included non-crew-supported rides each Tuesday and Thursday, giving registered riders the opportunity to train alongside each other and get used to riding in a group.

That program, the two men said, has helped keep registered riders involved and interested.

Pilgrim and Mack are also co-captains of the Positive Pedalers team for LSR, a group of HIV-positive cyclists and crew members participating in the event. Mack said the Positive Pedalers team this year includes 21 riders and crew members, the largest Pos Pedalers team every in LSR.

The ride begins at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, with cyclists leaving base camp, set up at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center — located at 4501 Hwy. 360 S. in Fort Worth — and riding northwest to Haslett, before circling back to end at the training center. Day two on Sunday again begins with ride out at 7 a.m., only this time riders head southeast to Ovilla before circling back.

On Saturday, riders have three route options: a century ride that covers 100 miles, a 75-mile route and a 45-mile route. The two longer routes include a pit stop at the offices of AIDS Outreach Center at 400 North Beach Street in Fort Worth.

Sunday riders can choose either the 75-mile or the 45-mile route.

On Saturday night, there will be dinner and entertainment at the AA training center, and guests are invited to attend.

Guests are also invited to come out and help cheer the riders on during both days of the ride.

Two cheering stations will be set up on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s stations include one at the American Airlines training center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and one at AIDS Outreach Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday’s cheerings stations are at the training center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at Texas Plume Road, across from Lorch Park, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For details, go online to LoneStarRide.org.

Non-ride participants are also encouraged to attend closing ceremonies on Sunday, beginning at 5 p.m., at the training center.

Kerr and Tripp both noted that anyone who has not yet registered and wants to participate has until 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, to sign up. In addition to online registration, potential participants can attend the pre-ride spaghetti dinner being held at Resource Center Dallas and register there.

To register as a rider, individuals must pay a $75 registration fee and raise at least $500 in donations. To register as a crewmember, individuals must pay a $50 registration fee. Crew positions are still available.

David Mineheart, LSR event manager, also encouraged people to participate in some way in the ride.

“The bottom line is that this even raises money for people who really need the help and rely on it,” Mineheart said. “Plus, Lone Star Ride is just lots of fun. It creates an energy that is just amazing. Anybody who has ever been there knows what I am talking about, and if you haven’t been there, you should come and see for yourself.

“This is about people of all types, from all walks of life, coming together to help with something that is bigger than themselves,” he added. “We are talking about giving and having fun. That’s what Lone Star Ride is all about.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas