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Monday, 03 May 2021 22:09

Bikers raise more than $10k for Richmond County Special Olympics

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A convoy of bikers return to the Hide-A-Way Tavern Saturday afternoon during the annual Buddy Roe Memorial Ride for Richmond County Special Olympics. See more photos at the RO's Facebook page. A convoy of bikers return to the Hide-A-Way Tavern Saturday afternoon during the annual Buddy Roe Memorial Ride for Richmond County Special Olympics. See more photos at the RO's Facebook page. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Chris Sachs said he and his wife Felcia cried Sunday after counting up the total from Saturday’s motorcycle ride to benefit Richmond County Special Olympics.

It wasn’t because it was less than expected — but much more.

Monday afternoon at the Hide-A-Way Tavern, the couple presented an envelope to Special Olympics Coordinator Theressa Smith, whose eyes widened and jaw dropped when she heard the total: $10,774.

“Oh my goodness, that is so awesome,” Smith exclaimed. “I would have never even dreamed … y’all did awesome, thank you so much on behalf of Special Olympics for everything that y’all did.”

According to Sachs, only $3,000 came from sponsorships — the remaining $7,700 and change was raised the day of the event between rider registrations, donations, food plate sales, an auction, and raffle and door prize tickets.

More than 50 bikers — from Ol Skool Tribe, Steel Wheels, Playz Elite and The Litas, as well as independent riders — participated in the event Saturday afternoon.

“There’s a whole lot of generous people” in Richmond County’s biker community, Sachs said, mentioning Jerry and Belinda Gardner, who bought a cooler to donate to the auction; and Mark Cockerton, owner of Family Cycle Sales, who donated several items to the auction and bid on a few others.

Other auction items included gift baskets, gift certificates to River Wild, Harley Davidson memorabilia and an airplane flight.

“When people pay more for something than they know it’s worth, that’s generosity,” Sachs said, adding that he always reminds the participants, “You’re not bidding on the item, you’re giving money to the cause.”

Biker and photographer Terry Clark donated his $300 winnings from the 50/50 raffle back to the cause.

“That’s a normal biker thing to do,” Sachs said.

This year’s bounty exceeded the 2019 ride by more than $1,700.

Sachs said he estimated the event would generate close to $7,000; Smith was figuring around $3,500.

“We were taken away by it … amazed,” Sachs said, especially considering this was the third ride in Richmond County within a month.

A ride the previous weekend for Krystal Dawn Retreat brought in more than $4,000, according to Ol Skool Riding Club President Gary Holt, who added last Tuesday that several monetary donations were still expected.

Earlier in April, the biker community raised around $10,000 in a benefit to purchase a headstone for Caleb Bundy — grandson of Crossroads Saloon owners Roger and Tammy Messer and Ol Skool member Marty Bundy — who died last November.

“And (they were) just as generous as the first time,” Sachs said.

The ride was started in 2009 by late bar owner Buddy Roebuck and Sachs, who bought the property following Roebuck’s death, carried on the tradition “because the Special Olympics meant a lot to him.”

Last year’s ride had to be canceled since the bar was closed due to government regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will mean a lot,” Smith said about the donation, adding that Special Olympics athletes have missed out on five events since the pandemic started.

She said the state is looking at two Richmond County athletes as possible participants in the USA games to represent North Carolina.

Richmond County has only had one athlete — Dawn Grooms — compete at the national level, according to Smith. 

She’s hoping they will be able to start practicing bocce ball for the upcoming local games next fall.

(Note: A correction was made denoting the difference between the 2019 and 2021 totals. 10:57 p.m. 5-3-21) 

Last modified on Monday, 03 May 2021 22:57
William R. Toler

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