MDA clients and their families cheer on the riders as they depart from Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson (L-R) Candace Miller, Joseph Tress Jr., Ethan Tress, Peggy Nied, Melinda Heathcote, Annie Heathcote, George Heathcoate, Elias Armada, Andella Armada, Libby Armada
The roads of southern Wisconsin roared with the sound of 1,000 motorcycles last weekend at the 26th Annual MDA Freedom Ride.
Nearly 1,400 motorcycle enthusiasts rallied together July 15-16 for the 70-mile ride to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The two-day event, which raised nearly $85,000 for local MDA clients, began Friday with festivities including a Poker Run, family activities, bike show, dinner and entertainment at VFW Park in Prairie du Sac.
Local MDA clients and their families cheered on the riders with homemade signs of encouragement and thanks as the motorcycles departed from Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson Saturday afternoon. Clients included Joseph and Ethan Tress, 6 and 1 of Middleton; Annie Heathcote, 12 of Mazomanie; and Andella Armaza, 2 of Madison.
Peggy Nied, along with her daughter and grandson, attended the MDA Freedom Ride to see the riders off in memory of her son, Kyle. Kyle, 23, of Madison, had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and passed away of late last month. According to Peggy, Kyle would have wanted to be there to support the Freedom Ride.
After the ride, many of the children and their families stayed to talk with the riders and thank them for their contribution to MDA. All of the money raised at the Freedom Ride helps clients like Joseph, Ethan, Annie and Andella by financing UW Hospital clinic visits, wheelchair and leg brace repairs, support groups, and a weeklong stay at MDA Summer Camp in Kenosha County.
Riders enjoyed post-ride activities at VFW Park, including a pork chop dinner, bike games, raffles, drinks and entertainment by LUBE. Carol Thompson of Mount Horeb won the grand prize at the raffle and will enjoy a 4-day trip to Las Vegas to see the 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon.
MDA Freedom Ride coordinators would like to thank the Sauk Prairie Harley Owners Group Chapter members and Sauk Prairie Harley-Davidson employees. Their constant commitment to the cause made the 2011 MDA Freedom Ride an unforgettable event.
The Freedom Ride is the longest single dealer Harley-Davidson fundraising event to benefit MDA in Wisconsin. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 Harley-Davidson MDA events in the nation, the ride has raised over $1.8 million net since its inception in 1985.
MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat more than 43 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education. To volunteer or for more information about MDA’s programs and services, call (608) 222-3269.