A little rain is hardly enough to overcome the roar of the engine and the thrill of the open road, especially when that engine is roaring toward a good cause.
Despite wet roads and intermittent rain Sunday, a handful of motorcyclists from the Bellefonte Eagle Riders 4320 departed Talleyrand Park at about noon on a 91-mile ride to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Fourteen bikes, some carrying passengers, roared from the park on a journey through Mill Hall, Jersey Shore and Loganton before winding back and ending in Centre Hall.
“We’re usually able to pick up more riders,” Eagle Riders President Don Smith said, “but some were likely chased away by the weather.”
Different riders will jump on and off at different points throughout the trip, Bellefonte Cruise President Pat McCool said. Last year, about 40 riders participated. This year, that number was slashed almost in half.
“Rain scares the fair-weather riders away,” he said. “The rest of us are do or die.”
Make-A-Wish is a pet charity for the organization, McCool said. Sunday’s ride marked the second ride ever for the Eagle Riders, who raised just short of $3,900 for Make-A-Wish last year.
This year, riders paid a $15 entry fee to ride and a $10 entry fee for passengers, he said, with all proceeds going to Make-A-Wish. Donations were also taken by anyone in the community who wanted to give to a good cause, as well as purchase raffle tickets and T-shirts commemorating the ride.
“We get people from all walks of life — doctors, lawyers and business leaders,” McCool said. “It’s a wide mix, and you can never tell the difference in a crowd like this.”
Road captain Terry Bennett echoed the sentiment, saying the organization brings together people who normally wouldn’t associate with each other.
“We’re trying to get the community involved,” Bennett said. “The rides are getting bigger, so the public can only prosper.”
With a few stops along the way, the riders pulled into the American Legion Post 779 in Centre Hall at about 5 p.m. All reported a good ride, despite the Mother Nature’s best efforts to make things difficult.
“That light rain really stings,” Bennett said. “Sometimes I wish it would just downpour, then you only get wet. But that light rain hits your face and it hurts.”
With a meal and space donated by the American Legion, the group was able to recoup and hand out their raffle prizes. About 20 riders had participated in the ride by the time it wrapped up, McCool said.
Prior to the ride, the Eagle Riders had raised about $2,100 of it’s $3,900 goal, event coordinator Heather Rupert said. A large portion of the funds had been donated by various businesses in the area, as well as fundraising done during the Bellefonte Cruise.
“We asked about every business between Bellefonte and State College if they would contribute,” Rupert said. Donations were made by every type of business, from Wolf Furniture and Confer Jewelers in Bellefonte to 2-3-4 Motorsports in Wingate and Extreme Custom Cycles in Pleasant Gap.
The final tally of funds raised would be figured out by August, McCool said, when the riders formally present a check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.