OROVILLE – Some 308 riders and their machines left Wenatchee Saturday morning for the sixth annual Run for the Border, picking up more riders along the way, they arrived at their destination in Oroville over 350 strong.
The cyclists had a special police escort as they roared into town and lined up into neat rows along Main Street, Appleway and Golden in special coned-off areas set aside for the occasion. Many of the riders belonged to the Columbia River Harley Owners Group which organizes the annual event to raise money for North Central Washington Kids in Need.
“The auction on Friday night raised $16,700, but we won’t have a final tally of the money raised for a couple of weeks until after the cash donations and all the pledge forms come in,” said Tina Janowicz from Okanogan, a member of the Columbia River HOGs.
In addition to the auction, the motorcyclists find pledges from people willing to support the cause.
Although the motorcycles were mostly Harley Davidsons, the ride is open to all motorcycle brands and a few other marques such as Triumph, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and BMW could be seen amongst the American iron.
After stretching their legs, most of the riders went to the Oroville Eagles where Oroville Mayor Chuck Spieth greeted them. Members of the Combat Veterans Riding Group performed a flag folding ceremony and Vicki Hart, with Hodges Post 84 of the American Legion, explained what each fold of the flag meant as the ceremony took place.
Later, the Combat Veterans acted as escort for fourth-grader Jackson Gregg who took a ride in a sidecar on a matching Harley Davidson driven by Verna Madison of the Columbia River group. The Omak boy suffered from a brain tumor. He was helped in 2007 with $3000 from the money raised during the Run for the Border last year.
“His dad loves motorcycles and that’s how they hooked up with the Harley group,” said his teacher who accompanied Gregg on the trip to Oroville. “Now he loves motorcycles too.”
About his ride, the fourth-grader said, “It was awesome.”
Janowicz adds that this year their group had a special donation request at the auction and with the money raised purchased over $450 in art supplies for Gregg.
“We wanted to help celebrate his recovery a little bit. His doctors say he will not be able to participate in things like contact sports and he has an interest in art that we thought we’d try and support,” she said.
Janowicz said all the motorcycles lined up in the former Kmart parking lot at Wenatchee before heading out at 10 a.m. made an impressive sight. She also said Oroville had done a good job with the police escort and the parking and with the group’s Road Captains had little trouble funneling the riders into the set aside parking areas.
With that many riders in town the downtown businesses, restaurants and bars were kept busy serving food and a “cool drink or two” said Janowicz, who adds that Oroville always makes the group feel welcome.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the cause may do so by writing a check to NCW Kids in Need and sending it in care of Larry Pearson, 2405 N. Aurora, East Wenatchee, WA. 98802.