Rainy ride raises funds for program

PLYMOUTH — Chilly weather complete with a downpour of rain on Saturday didn’t keep 60 motorcycle riders from participating in the 4th Annual Ride for “Shop with a Cop-Christmas for Kids.”
The ride started at Young Amphitheatre in Plymouth and took riders to Rochester, Bass Lake and then back to the American Legion hall in Plymouth. Following the ride, a meal and auction were held as well.
One of the organizers, Jeff Stewart said, “We can’t thank the community enough for their support in monetary and gift donations.”
Speaking of the participants, Stewart said, “These are die-hard riders.”
Last year, the event with 86 riders raised $5,900. Stewart is estimating that this year’s ride, although down in numbers, brought in about $6,000. Stewart and his wife Sherri said they knew their fellow “riding brothers” from the area wouldn’t let them down.
He said, “Remarkably, these guys come every year and even pay to ride.”
Brian and Ellen Brown are among those that stayed on the phone for days before the event to make sure riders would be signing up. Ellen Brown said, “We can depend on them.”
The Shop with a Cop program is under the umbrella locally of F.O.P. Lodge 195.
The event served as the kick-off for the fundraisers to help make Christmas better for area children in need. On Dec. 12, the kids chosen out of the hundreds of applications will go with a chaperone to shop for their families or themselves. Each child receives $100. In years past, F.O.P. Lodge 195 President, Hurshel Hunter, has said, “It’s common for kids to buy hats, gloves, and coats... and sometimes even toothbrushes... and gifts for their families.”
During the auction, Stewart said, “I don’t care how big a man your are, when you take them shopping, it will bring a tear to your eyes.”
It was easy to tell that many of the riders have been planning on keeping the auction proceeds high. For instance, Stewart and his partner Chip Hunter used their custom painting business to decorate coolers and mailboxes to match motorcycle colors that sold for $25 to $95 and totaled $415. Jim Montague custom designed a lamp that he pieced together from a lot of motorcycle parts and starts with an ignition key. The lamp alone brought in $400. Speaking to Montague, Stewart said, “That means four kids are able to shop for Christmas thanks to you.”
It took nearly two hours to auction off the donations from area businesses and other donations from those who just wanted to help and hours to calculate the proceeds from a silent auction.