Family, friends of cyclists, crew volunteers also invited to attend Camp Night festivities on Saturday
About 150 support crewmembers will be gathered at the finish line of the ninth annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27 to cheer on the nearly 150 cyclists as they cross the finish line in the two-day, 165-mile event.
And LSR organizers this week encouraged families, friends and supporters of both crewmembers and cyclists to be there at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center, too, to show their support.
Lone Star Ride begins and ends both days, Sept. 26-27, at the Training Center, located at 4501 Hwy. 360 South, just minutes south of DFW International Airport at the intersection of Hwy. 360 and Hwy. 183.
Cyclists ride out Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m., and end the day with Camp Night back at the Training Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sunday morning starts with ride out, again at 7:30 a.m., and the event ends with closing ceremonies at the Training Center at 4 p.m.
Although supporters are invited to attend the ride out each morning and to find a location along the route to cheer riders, LSR Development Manager said that Camp Night on Saturday and Closing Ceremonies on Sunday are "definitely the two most interesting parts of the ride for spectators."
In years past, Miller said, Camp Night has been restricted to registered participants and has included a talent show featuring Ride participants. This year, however, "we are selling tickets to the barbecue dinner that night, and spectators are welcome to come and watch the entertainment," he said.
The dinner will be catered by Bone Daddy’s restaurant, the dinner sponsor for all nine years of the Lone Star Ride, and tickets are $5, available online at LoneStarRide.org.
Camp Night will feature entertainment by the blues band Texas Slim, and comedians with Dallas Comedy House will perform an improv skit and present awards to individual riders and teams.
"Camp Night is a great way for non-participants to see the fun part of the Lone Star Ride. It gives a really good insider’s view of what it’s like," Miller said. "Something else that is different this year is that we are allowing our sponsors and vendors to set up booths during Camp Night."
Miller added that each year participants are invited to send in photos and names of people they have lost to AIDS that are combined into a video presentation to close Camp Night activities.
The real emotion, though, comes Sunday afternoon with Closing Ceremonies, which this year will be opened by the Texas Color Guard, a precision rifle and flag corps.
Valerie Holloway-Skinner will continue a tradition that began the first year of the ride by reading a poem that she will compose over the course of the weekend. Miller noted that the Holloway Family Foundation is the founding sponsor for Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.
Also this year, local singer/songwriter Hilary Roberts will perform a song she wrote based on her personal experiences and the experiences of Lone Star Ride cyclists she has talked with.
Turtle Creek Chorale will perform two songs — "I Am That Man" and "Amazing Grace" — as part of this year’s riderless bike ceremony to complete Closing Ceremonies.
"Each year we have a bike that is brought out during opening ceremonies. It is loaded on a vehicle and taken to each pit stop along the route," Miller explained. "On the second day, it is brought to Closing Ceremonies and rolled up a red carpet to the stage. It symbolizes all those who are no longer with us, those we have lost to AIDS. That’s pretty much the highlight of the Closing Ceremonies, and that’s usually when the people start crying."
Those who can only attend one part of the weekend event should choose Closing Ceremonies, Miller said, for their own sake and for the sake of the cyclists who will be winding up a challenging and exhausting effort.
"It’s really important to have as many people there as possible to cheer the riders when they come in," Miller said. "We have a staging area where all the riders gather, and when the last rider has come in, we all ride together to the finish line. It’s an impressive spectacle.
"Those who participate in the ride have such deep-seated emotions about the whole event, but sometimes it’s hard to convey that to other people," he added. "But when they go to the Closing Ceremonies, they start to get it. They see what it is all about." •
For more information or to donate to Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, go to the event’s Web site at LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2009.