Hundreds of bikers taking part in the 25th Annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America stopped in Sherman Wednesday for a bite to eat and a brief respite from the road and rains, including a few recognizable faces.
The 3,700-mile charity ride and fundraising campaign, founded by the former NASCAR driver, kicked off in Seattle, Washington, last week and is scheduled to end in Key Largo, Florida, this weekend. Riders, including Petty, former Dallas Cowboy player Herschel Walker and Richard Petty, stopped at Texoma Harley-Davidson on their way from Childress, Texas, to Shreveport, Louisiana. The event is meant to raise awareness and financial support for Victory Junction, a North Carolina summer camp for children living with disabilities and serious illnesses.
“We’re on our sixth day of a nine-day trip,” Petty said “There’s 11 states, 150 bikes and about 220 people. We have a little more of everything this year.”
The group was greeted with a free lunch catered by Chick-Fil-A and live music performed by the Sherman High School Bearcat Band. Sherman Mayor David Plyler was also on hand to award Kyle Petty with a key to the city.
“We’re really excited that they were able to stop in Sherman,” Plyler said.
Courtney Lambert joined the charity ride for the first time this year and said she and fellow riders had seen all kinds of conditions on their trip.
“The first few days were actually quite snowy,” Lambert said. “That was cool because I’m from Florida and we don’t see winter weather too often. And, yesterday, they changed our whole route because they knew the weather was getting bad ahead. Well come to find out, a tornado actually hit the town where we were supposed to be and right at the time that we would have been there.”
Despite the less-than-favorable weather, both Lambert and Kyle Petty said they expected the rest of trip to go well and any inconvenience would pale in comparison to the benefits of the charity ride.
“We’ve seen almost 30,000 kids in the 15 years the camp has been open, but this ride has been directly responsible for sending 8,000 kids to camp, totally free of charge,” Kyle Petty said. “That’s why riding in the rain, riding in the wind, that doesn’t mean that much because at some point in time that means there’s a kid that’s going to be able to go to camp, maybe make a new friend, maybe have the time of his life, because of this.”
Drew Smith is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DrewSmithHD.