1,000 bikers turn out for 10th annual Ride to the Tide

posted Mon, Apr 18, 2016 by Jon Buzby

By Zach Isakowitz

 

SMYRNA — If you were anywhere near Smyrna during the morning of Sunday, April 17, you were most likely in sight of at least one motorcycle. Probably more.

Special Olympics Delaware and the Delaware Blue Knight’s “Ride to the Tide” event hosted 1,000 motorcycle drivers plus another 422 passengers on a 55-mile journey from Rommel Harley-Davidson in Smyrna to Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth Beach.

Just as the morning chill began to wear off at Rommel Harley-Davidson in Smyrna, volunteers danced, sold raffle tickets and served the bikers and passengers donuts and coffee while old friends from different states and motorcycle clubs walked through the aisles of motorcycles admiring the unique style of each bike.

Despite the difference in engine style or patches on their vest, each biker came to ride for the same reason - to support Special Olympics Delaware athletes. In doing so, a record $53,500 was raised, which brought the total to more than $237,000 in the event’s 10-year history.

“It’s a great donation and a good ride with your brothers,” replied Bill, when asked about his highlight of the event.

“Seeing the athletes at the end,” said Bob, smiling, along with his wife, who road along with him.

Another lifelong biker, Terry, spoke about the “camaraderie and mixture” between the Blue Knights of the police departments, the Red Knights of the fire departments, and all the other groups that came from Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“It’s unbelievable,” he stated proudly.

Terry added that this day was so special to him personally because he does the ride in honor of his nephew, who was born with a disability and has since passed away.

“I ride in memory of my buddy,” he said with a hint of emotion in his voice.

As the 11:30 a.m. departure time grew closer, a mother of a Special Olympics athlete walked to the microphone and thanked all of the bikers and volunteers who had come together to support such a great cause.

“We just can’t thank all of you enough,” she said.

During the formal opening ceremony just prior to the departure, Sasha Hudson, a Special Olympics athlete took the stage to pick out the winning raffle numbers and present a plaque to each of the supporters and presenting sponsor Delmarva Power. Hudson also relayed his thanks to the participants for “supporting me and my fellow athletes.”

Once the brief ceremony finished, the bikers moved toward their “rides” and as a group donned their helmets, completed their last-minute adjustments, and in a simultaneous fashion, the bikes began to roar.

For nearly 30 minutes a steady, continuous stream of motorcycles rode out of the parking lot, each passing a lineup of Special Olympics families who perhaps summed it up best with the banner they were holding up that simply read:  “Thank You”.