Thursday, 12 May 2022 17:01

Motorcycle ride brings in $10k for Richmond County Special Olympics

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Stephanie Upton accepts $10,000 for the Richmond County Special Olympics from Hide-A-Way Tavern owner Chris Sachs on May 12. See the RO's Facebook page for photos from the May 7 ride. Stephanie Upton accepts $10,000 for the Richmond County Special Olympics from Hide-A-Way Tavern owner Chris Sachs on May 12. See the RO's Facebook page for photos from the May 7 ride. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Local bikers once again answered the call to “give from your hearts, not from your wallets” in a fundraiser this past weekend.


On Thursday, Hide-A-Way Tavern owners Chris and Fleica Sachs presented an envelope with $10,000 to Stephanie Upton, who was representing Richmond County Special Olympics.

“That’s awesome — and y’all went through a storm,” Upton said after receiving the donation.

Upton said she was humbled to see how the event ran on Saturday, May 7.

“People gave money and then they gave more,” Upton said. “It was just a humbling experience to see people so willing to give to a cause that may not directly impact them.”

More than 60 bikers showed up at the bar prior to the ride. Although members of Playaz Elite Motorcycle Club and Dead Silence Riding Club didn’t ride, they still donated to the cause.

Still, around 45 independent riders participated, taking a drive up to Cox’s Double Eagle Harley Davidson in West End and back to the bar — as thunderstorms moved through the area.

Chris Sachs told the RO that items for the auction after the ride went for more than they were worth: from a $60 gift certificate to Showtime Tattoo that sold for $70 and a $100 cooler that brought in around $450.

“That’s called giving from your heart,” Sachs said.

Tammy Messer won $350 in the 50/50 raffle, and as is customary, donated it back.

After the day’s events, Chris Sachs said they had raised a little less than $10,000 and Flecia’s mother donated enough to even it out.

“People around here are generous,” Sachs said. “There’s no other way to say it, they’re just generous, loving people.”

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.”

This is the second consecutive year the ride has generated at least $10,000. Last year’s event raised $10,774, exceeding the 2019 total by more than $1,700. The ride was canceled in 2020 due to government regulations in response to the COVID pandemic.

Upton said the ride was one of the largest fundraisers for Richmond County Special Olympics.

“We are very, very grateful for them and all that goes into this,” Upton said. “This is a big event. People don’t realize how much work goes into it. We can’t thank them enough for this.”

Because of lingering COVID concerns, there were no Special Olympics events this year, but Upton said, “We will start back strong in the fall.”

She added that there will be a dance next month for the athletes at the VFW.

Upton also said there is a need for more coaches and volunteers for the Special Olympics. Anyone interested can contact Upton at 910-331-6004.

SPECIAL DONATIONS

The bikers didn’t just open their hearts and wallets for the Special Olympics.

They also filled up a helmet for Jordyn Willman, whose father Micheal Dale Willman passed away April 28 at the age of 53.

One of the first people to drop money in the helmet was a deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office who was escorting the convoy.

UPCOMING RIDES

As the weather warms up, riding season is just getting started, with events planned for each of the upcoming months.

The Hide-A-Way is hosting rides:

  • in June to raise money for the annual Special Forces/Wounded Warrior hunting trip;
  • in July to benefit Toys for Tots; and
  • in September to benefit Project Taylor.

The bar will also co-host the third annual Back the Blue ride Sept. 17. That event raises money to support shop-with-a-cop programs in both Richmond and Scotland counties.

Local motorcycle club Playaz Elite has been collecting food for its annual Feed the Needy mission since March and will have a fundraiser May 22 at Showtime Tattoo Shop.

Playaz Elite and Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club are co-sponsoring A Ride for Declan on June 4 in Wadesboro to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.