CMA ride rolls out SaturdayThe Christian Motorcycle Association is hosting the fifth annual Memorial Ride for All Fallen Soldiers this Saturday. Registration for the ride is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Stutsman Harley-Davidson. The approximate 200-mile ride will run through Stutsman, Foster and Barnes counties starting at 11 a.m.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The Christian Motorcycle Association is hosting the fifth annual Memorial Ride for All Fallen Soldiers this Saturday.
Registration for the ride is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Stutsman Harley-Davidson. The approximate 200-mile ride will run through Stutsman, Foster and Barnes counties starting at 11 a.m.
Registration is $15 and includes dinner at the All Vets Club and a patch commemorating the ride. The cost is $5 for a passenger and an extra $5 if the passenger wants a patch. People can also drive cars and trucks.
All of the proceeds raised will go to the North Dakota National Guard memorial fund, said Paul Byron, president of CMA Dakota SonShine Riders Jamestown chapter.
CMA started hosting the event in 2005 after two 141st Engineer Combat Battalion soldiers in Iraq came up with the idea to honor their fallen friends, Byron said.
Mark McMahon, event co-founder, and Steve Geigle hatched the idea for the ride on the hood of a Humvee one night in Iraq, MaMahon said.
The run was created to honor Spc. James Holmes, who died May 7, 2004; Spc. Philip Brown, killed in action May 8, 2004; Staff Sgt. Lance Koenig, who died Sept. 22, 2004, and Spc. Cody Wentz, on Nov. 4, 2004.
“I know a lot of people who went out and bought motorcycles just for this run,” McMahon said.
CMA is hosting the ride, the Patriot Guard is leading the ride and the Individuals Motor Cycle Club, will keep all of the riders together, he said.
“We feel it’s an honor and a privilege,” Byron said. “Several of the CMA riders from across the state are veterans from the Vietnam era or Iraq. It’s just a great thing, a great cause.”
Each year the ride draws about 200 participants, including Guard soldiers.
Brig. Gen. Bill Seekins, commander land component North Dakota National Guard, plans to take the ride for his second consecutive year.
“I just like to participate and have a good time,” Seekins said.
It’s a nice easy ride and usually the group stops in smaller towns along the way to catch up with each other, he said.
Part of the ride for Seekins is the camaraderie aspect, but the other part is the worthy cause, he said.
Bike riders have an opportunity to ride for different charities all summer long, Seekins said.
“I’d like to say that anytime you go on one of these runs you have an opportunity to ride with probably some of the best friends you’ll ever meet,” he said.
Seekins said riders from all walks of life take part in charity rides; from doctors to construction workers an entire gamut of people ride motorcycles.
Even Gov. John Hoeven took part in the first ride in 2005, riding from Jamestown to Valley City.
“It says that North Dakotans are very patriotic it also says that they truly honor the sacrifice of our soldiers and recognize the sacrifice that those soldiers and their families have made. Not just for this state but for this country,” Hoeven said.
For McMahon driving his Harley-Davidson through the North Dakota summer prairie with a group of riders has a calming effect.
“It’s almost like therapy, nothing else is going through your head but the open road and your friends,” he said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by e-mail at email@example.com