Rev it Up Riders celebrate 10 years of charity at Special Olympics Closing Ceremony
The Michigan Moose Riders celebrated the 10th annual Rev it Up Ride at the 2019 Special Olympics Michigan State Summer Games. The Moose Riders raised more $13,000 for SOMI and Moose Charities during a statewide motorcycle trek on Friday, May 31.
The Rev it Up Ride is a well-celebrated tradition at the State Summer Games. Moose Riders hailing from various lodges across the state gather in Mount Pleasant to tour the streets of Central Michigan University's campus.
“These are great volunteers, they come from all over to make this happen, now it’s become like a main stage event (for Special Olympics),” said Moose Riders State Chairman Greg McCarty. “We hope to be back next year and many years to come.”
McCarty said there were only about 45-50 bikes at the first Rev It Up in 2009; now there are almost 100. The Moose Riders have raised more than $100,000 for Special Olympics in the past ten years.
After participants arrived on Harley Davidsons, Hondas and more, they ate burgers and hot dogs as McCarty, law enforcement, and athletes addressed the crowd at the closing ceremony.
The ride began in the south parking lot of Kelly/Shorts Stadium, peeling out onto West Campus Drive. Special Olympics athletes watched with glee and admiration as bikers revved their engines along East Preston Street and East Campus Drive.
After the riders revved their engines in unison around the perimeter of Kelly/Shorts, they joined the athletes on the field to converse and sign autographs.
“In years past I let (the athletes) sign my papers because to me, they are the stars” Karrol Cowdrey, a St Louis, Michigan Moose on Bikes rider said. “They are the reason I’m here”
Max Imiano Ramirez, president of the St. Louis M.O.B., said the lodge brings in more $1,500 each year, excluding personal donations.
"We're getting so (many) more people involved in the biker community," Ramirez said. "It opens us up to different types of people, different hearts, new love."
The Moose Riders are a subgroup of the Loyal Order of The Moose, a fraternal and service organization founded in 1888. The Moose members conduct approximately $70 million worth of community service annually, including monetary donations and volunteer hours worked.
After 10 years, the Moose riders still consider the Special Olympics Rev it Up Ride to be the most rewarding event for the organization.
“I have 12 grandchildren and they are all healthy, wealthy and wise. I feel a special pull around these kids and adults,” rider Ron Folts said. “This is one of the greatest things I get to do, I’ll be up here in rain or snow.