JAY, VT â€“ On Saturday, 73 motorcyclists throughout New England paid $45 each to take part in the 143-mile ride that ended on Jay Peak, and another three dozen or so people paid an additional fee to ride along on the back of the motorcycles. The proceeds from the annual event, known as the Kingdom Thunder Motorcycle Rally, will benefit IROCâ€™s Healthy Changes Initiative.
IROCâ€™s Healthy Changes Initiative is a discounted membership and exercise program for people who suffer from chronic conditions as well as members 65 years of age and older.
Phil White, executive director of IROC, is pleased with the turnout considering some people who wanted to participate couldnâ€™t because they were concerned about Hurricane Irene and getting home on Sunday.
The storm also prompted members of the band, Southern Comfort, to cancel their benefit concert. However, this did not stop the motorcyclists and other guests from enjoying a barbecue and music played by a DJ early Saturday evening.
â€śItâ€™s a good group of people,â€ť said White. â€śTheyâ€™re all very supportive of IROC and the Healthy Changes Initiative. Itâ€™s great to have that support during IROCâ€™s challenging times. Kingdom Thunder is a big success, no question about it. Itâ€™s also a morale booster.â€ť
Participants who took part in the fundraiser understand IROC is having a difficult time, White said.
Steve Vincent, of Newport, was one of those people. Vincent, who rode with his wife Carmen Vincent, said IROC needs all the help it can get.
â€śItâ€™s important to give back to the community when we can,â€ť said Vincent, a local pharmacist. â€śThe ride was fantastic and the weather was perfect.â€ť
President of United Motorcyclists of Vermont, Don Henn of Johnson, went on the ride to support IROC. Henn said the ride was fun and he plans to take part again next year.
â€śThis is a great event with the barbecue and ride,â€ť added Pat Kilday of Newport City. â€śIt makes for a great day.â€ť Kilday also wanted to help raise money for IROC.
As of Saturday evening, White did not have the total amount of money raised at the event.