Call it a noisy way to raise money, but more than 120 riders on 100 motorcycles rode nearly 500 miles across North Carolina over four days in the Third Annual Ride to Clyde and raised a record $55,000 for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH).
Riders from across North Carolina and some from South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia took part in the Christ-focused trek which began at the N.C. Baptist Assembly, Fort Caswell, on Oak Island, then made stops at Camp Duncan for Girls near Aberdeen; Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro; the main BCH campus at Thomasville; a break stop at Fruitland Baptist College at Hendersonville; an overnight stop at Lake Junaluska before the final stop at Broyhill Home at Clyde, May 12.
The oldest rider was 84 years old and younger riders rode along with their parents. One girl said it was the longest ride on the Harley-Davidson she had ever made and the first time she had ridden through rain.
The riders, including many Baptist ministers and laymen, thundered into the Broyhill campus with a police escort and passed cheering children fascinated with the big bikes. Saturday, May 12 Ride to Clyde riders presented an oversized printout of the $55,000 check at Broyhill Home at Clyde. J. Keith Henry, BCH chief operating officer, accepted the check.
Many communities for one mission
Ride to Clyde is not just a ride, but an event, Henry declared as onlookers applauded and cheered. Receiving the check was a high point in the May 12 festivities at Broyhill, which included a barbecue, car show, gospel music, clogging and other events.
This year’s total amount raised greatly topped the 2016 total of more than $19,000 and the 2017 total of $32,379.
Jerry and Juene Coffey led all other fundraisers in the Ride to Clyde with a whopping $7,545. The Coffeys joined the ride in 2016 and rode in 2017 Ride to Clyde. Jerry explained, “The Lord gave me and Juene a strong desire for the Ride to Clyde and we worked at it all year.”
But they did not work alone.
Jerry explained that their home church, Chase Baptist Church in Forest City, with just over 100 members, took up the cause as well. A golf tournament and raffle helped raise part of the money and their Baptist Men group prepared and sold dinners one Sunday after the worship service to help raise the winning amount, Jerry said.
This year Jerry rode his Ultra Classic and Juene rode her Street Glide,Classic, both Harley-Davidsons.
Other top fundraisers for the 2018 ride were:
- Keith and Jody Austin ($6,373).
- Elizabeth Baptist Church, Shelby ($4,500) Pastor Rit Varriale again rode his Ducati motorcycle in this year’s Ride to Clyde; he was one of the ride’s founders.
- River Community Church, Fayetteville ($3,700) Pastor Todd Brady rode his Harley Davidson this year.
- Ben Bonds ($3,369).
- Freedom Biker Church, Monroe ($3,326).
More than a ride
Fundraising was just one part of Ride to Clyde; another emphasis was for the men and women riders to learn more about the Baptist Children’s Homes they were riding to support. Some of the biggest, burliest and most tattooed riders were seen wiping their eyes as they heard from some of the people the homes minister to.
At Camp Duncan for Girls near Aberdeen, a girl told how she suffered at the hands of her drug-abusing mother and how happy she has been to live at Duncan for the past two years.
Girls walked with the riders out through the 700-acre site to show off the primitive campsites where groups of girls live in all kinds of weather, cook over open fires, work and study in the rugged, Christ-centered program.
At Caraway Conference Center riders heard from women who live in Asheboro in one of the nine shelter homes for developmentally handicapped adults operated by BCH. The group sang two songs and one woman gave her testimony of how faith in Jesus Christ had helped her overcome her disabilities.
At the BCH campus at Thomasville, the bikers parked their motorcycles and let delighted children sit on them and even blow the horns, which they did with great enthusiasm.
During a program at Lake Junaluska, Roberta Edwards, now happily married with three children, told how she suffered during her childhood from her abusive mother before moving to the Broyhill Home. There she found faith in Christ to enable her to break the chain of abuse as she now raises her own children. Edwards said she was even able to forgive her mother before she passed away.
This year the 23 facilities of Baptist Children’s Homes in the state will minister to around 33,000 children and family members, BCH President Michael C. Blackwell told the riders during an overnight stay May 10 at Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro.
Many of the Ride to Clyde participants expressed amazement at the many BCH ministries they were learning about for the first time.
Riders Robin and Tammy Ferguson of Candler said they were already making plans to take part in the 2019 Ride to Clyde after visiting the Duncan Camp for Girls. “It’s amazing what goes on here. It just blows me away — the program and what the kids do, it’s just wow,” he said. It was the first time he had heard about such a ministry. “It has been a good discovery trip. It opened my eyes to a lot of things.”
“It’s amazing what goes on here. It just blows me away — the program and what the kids do, it’s just wow,”
Only one accident marred the ride. Roger Harris, an experienced rider and member of Wrightsboro Baptist Church, Wilmington, fell on his motorcycle between Asheboro and Caraway Conference Center and was taken by ambulance to a nearby Greensboro hospital for treatment. While his injuries were extensive with broken ribs and a collarbone, he was back at home before the Ride to Clyde was completed.
Rider reports were positive. One rider said when he explained to a man at a gas station what the ride was about, the man spontaneously handed him a $20 contribution. One team was able to pray for a man recovering from a drug addiction.
Most riders expressed satisfaction with the ride, as far as the stops and the routes. Ride to Clyde coordinator Brian Davis, associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, coordinated the ride again. He and BSCNC staffer John Jones first rode the routes taken this year to find safe and enjoyable ways to get from point to point.
They had to take care of many details known only to motorcyclists, such as providing pucks for motorcycle kickstands to rest on, lest the heavy bikes might fall over from soft soil or even pavement. One Ride to Clyde rider, David Smith originally from Ohio, said he had organized a number of group motorcycle rides over the years and he said the Ride to Clyde was excellent in its planning and preparation.
For more information about Ride to Clyde please visit: ncbaptist.org/RidetoClyde.
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