“To celebrate our freedom by coming together to ride free and proudly showing support for our great country and the men and women who have served to protect our freedom.” – Mission Statement by the Freedom Riders
We’ve all had those moments, probably late at night, with our friends coming up with crazy and ridiculous ideas. We say things like “dude, this is an awesome idea! How come no one ever thought of this before?” And you dream about your idea being real.
Well, a couple of local friends from Central PA made their ideas a reality. Their idea was to create a fun and exciting way to show the veterans how much they appreciate them.
And thus the Freedom Ride was born!
“When Freedom Ride started we didn’t expect it to be as big as it is now. It started as just something fun to do on the 4th while friends were home for the holiday,” said Freedom Ride President Doug Roseberry. “Dressing up in USA gear and riding our bikes to show our support for our country. More people showed up that year than what we expected and that’s when we knew we could really do something with a real event.”
Since the first Freedom Ride event in 2011, the event has grown by leaps and bounds, last year raising more than $12,000 for local veterans.
It’s organized by alumni from both Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone who, through friendship in their youth, came together to make it all happen.
Bellwood-Antis alumni on the Freedom Ride board include Lindsey Hess, Sean Riggle, Phil Hess and Patrick Thornton. Tyrone grad Doug Roseberry is the president, and the board is rounded out by TAHS alumni Eric Latchford and Eric Sloss.
So without further ado…
Attention Blue Devil Nation… and everybody else in the nation! This Fourth of July come on down to Tyrone and Tipton to join in on the Freedom Ride!
This is an annual event that takes place on (yep you guessed it) the most patriotic day of the year– the Fourth of July!
The ride starts and ends at the American Legion on Lincoln Ave in Tyrone and it is about 10 miles long. Along the way there will be plenty of rest and drink stops. The Riders are re-mapping this year to avoid any major hills so the ride can be fun for all ages!
Registration is at 9 a.m. and the ride starts at 10.
Early registration is as easy and American as apple pie! Just get onto their website and click on the “Registration” button. Adult riders are $20 and children are $10. If you pre-register for the ride you can guarantee yourself a T-shirt as long as it before the June 4th T-shirt deadline. (Also please note that children under the age of 12 are required to wear helmets! It’s kind of the law…)
Dressing up is encouraged for this event but not manadatory. But come on, this is the one time it’ll actually be O.K to dress and act crazy in public where no one will judge you!
Well… actually they will judge you but not in the way you think! You can potentially win prizes for coming all decked out in red, white, and blue! But of course it’ll be a competition. The best man and women will be awarded prices.
Maybe you’re not the dressing up type of person. It’s still alright! You can possibly win prizes by decorating your bike (prizes awarded to one adult and one child). Some other prizes are awarded to the oldest and youngest riders, and also the most family members riding. That’s an award that generally goes to Bellwood’s own Worthing family, which participates every year.
New this year is a prize for the MVR (most valuable rider) who is the one person that goes all out to support the Freedom Riders!
Challenge accepted right?
Another challenge to accept is the goal for this year. The Riders would like to raise another $12,000 like they did last year. Over they last 4 “rides”, they have raised over $23,000 total. It’s important to note that 100% (yep, read it again) of the profits made every year are donated to the James E. Van Zandt Medical Center in Altoona, directly impacting our local veterans.
To make this goal happen they are hoping to have well over 200 riders like the past couple of rides and they’re always accepting new riders! If you can’t make it this year to ride they’re always taking generous donations! If you wanted to, you can even become a sponsor. There are 4 different levels of sponsorship: Diamond ($500 and above), Platinum ($250), Gold ($100) and Silver ($50). You could also sponsor the ride by donating prize items to give away at the ride or providing services such as printing, advertising, etc.
So mark it on your calendar… July Fourth… Freedom Ride day!
Even if you aren’t riding that day still come out and support the riders! Give a big, loud USA, USA, USA shout!! (Chants are also strongly encouraged!)