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Walt Gray Leads Another Successful Ride For Kids

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On August 22nd, 2010 the eighth annual Walt Gray Ride For Kids roared into action with thousands of motorcycles lined up at Raley Field in Sacramento. Registration, a $25 per rider charitable donation, began at 8:00 am with free pastries, coffee and bottled water.

Over the past seven years the Walt Gray Run has raised over $320,000 with all proceeds benefiting children’s charities. This year, the recipients were: Autism Speaks, Bikers against Child Abuse and Hope Productions Foundation.

As the day started bikers of all creeds and ages filled the parking lot at Raley Field with every style, shape and color of bike you could imagine. The registration began early with riders braving the chilly morning air in preparation for the ride through roughly 43 miles of scenic river roads ending in the town of Isleton and a wild street celebration.

At 10:00 am the rumble of bikes started its annual charitable ride with a California Highway Patrol escort onto Westacre Rd, 15th Street and then Jefferson Blvd. (SR-84). As engines roared and bikers cheered, crowds of people, volunteers and sponsors lined the roads to celebrate the charitable event. The ride then took a hard left onto South River Road where it proceeded for another 24 miles. As the road changed quickly into Sutter Slough Bridge and then CA-160 the noise of the engines was never more clear – a sense that the destination was at hand. As the bikers turned onto A Street and then 2nd Street the riders were filled with smiles and cheers as the town of Isleton had come-out in droves to celebrate another successful ride.

The route chosen for this year’s run was a roaring success with unbelievable weather, clear skies, open fields and a rolling road that followed the river straight into Isleton. All along the route young and old alike demonstrated their support by waving signs, clapping and cheering. For the entire 43 miles the bikers did not disappoint their supporters either– they would honk, waive and cheer right back. The entire scene felt like it was part of a movie. In fact, when Walt Gray was asked what he thought of the event he responded, “I could imagine it being a ride like back in the sixties with rolling country roads, a cool breeze and a small town.” He continued, “Once again, another success for all involved.”

As the bikers arrived in Isleton the atmosphere changed from precautionary driving to a let-your-hair-down party scene. The band ‘Leather Souls’ could be heard throughout the town and was enjoyed by those being served a lunch of chips, brats, a cookie and water. Not to mention a street lined with local and regional vendors hawking everything from clothing to custom bikes added that little extra flare.

As in many of these kinds of rides there were representatives from many local and national groups: Buffalo Soldiers, Veterans of Foreign Wars Rider’s Association, Southern Cruisers Riding Club, Road Runners Motorcycle Club, Old Coots on Scoots, Port Stockton, Jus Brothers and many more.

At approximately 1:15 the days raffle was held for various donated prizes (motorcycle stand, Harley Davidson Clock, miscellaneous clothing articles and many more items). The crowd stayed with hopes of winning one of the numerous raffle prizes and could be heard saying, “next ticket, next ticket.” Around 2:00 pm the grand prize item, an autographed guitar with names like Elvin Bishop, Tommy Castro, Uncle Cracker, Tesla, Lydia Pence, Brad Gillis and Walt Gray, was raffled off to a lucky winner.

Once the final raffle was over, the bikers began to disperse back they way they came – knowing they had successfully helped children in need.

For more information on Walt Gray’s Ride For Kids or to personally donate to one of the children’s charities, please follow the links below.

Walk Gray Ride For Kids
Autism Speaks
Bikers Against Child Abuse
Hope Productions Foundation.

Photos by Marc McLaughlin, www.marcmclaughlin.com.
Marc McLaughlin is a Contributing Writer and Photographer with Sacramento Press

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