By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald
Although still early spring, the Texas sun was beating down bright on Saturday as hundreds of motorcycles thundered across Bell and Coryell counties during the first-ever Ride For a Child.
The event, put on to raise money for child abuse awareness and prevention, was organized as a joint partnership between the exchange clubs of Copperas Cove, Gatesville, Temple and Killeen.
After beginning in Ogletree Gap in Copperas Cove, the ride made stops in Gatesville and Temple before concluding at Sandy's Homeplace in Nolanville for barbecue, live music and prizes.
Dick Young, the organizer of Ride for a Child, said more than 190 bikes entered the ride and helped raise close to $30,000.
"For a first year I think we had a pretty good turnout, especially in this down economy," Young said.
The idea for the collaboration between the Exchange Clubs came to Young and his wife last summer. Both have long been supporters of causes that fight child abuse and decided they wanted to have a large event to raise money for area organizations including Aware Central Texas, the Court Appointed Special Advocate Organization and others. Young said the idea to incorporate other exchange clubs and enlist local motorcycle groups was a natural one.
Young said statics on Child Abuse in Central Texas are startlingly high and the issue needs to be more of a priority.
"No one wants to talk about child abuse but it is a very real problem here in our area," Young said.
One of the riders who ended up at Sandy's on Saturday was Juan Rivera. The Killeen councilman and motorcycle enthusiast said he was impressed with the number of faces in the crowd.
"A lot of people from all walks of life showed up today," Rivera said. "Riding is a lot of fun but it's better when you can do it and also give something back."
Ed Walding, or "Waldo," was another rider present along with his fellow members of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, Killeen chapter. In between emceeing the door prizes and announcements, Walding stopped to talk about why he felt fighting child abuse is such a worthy cause.
"We all were kids at one time, and we all have kids, so we felt this was something we really wanted to be involved with," Walding said.
Contact Andy Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468. Follow him at Twitter at KDHeducation.
Another chance to ride
Bikers Against Child Abuse, a worldwide nonprofit organization, is hosting the sixth annual Child Abuse Prevention Ride on April 9. The 50-mile ride will begin at Hooter's in Killeen and finish at Ogletree Gap in Copperas Cove.