ROCKINGHAM — Regional bikers poured love from their wallets this weekend, resulting in a new record total for the annual Back the Blue Ride.
The ride, which supports Shop with Cop programs in Scotland and Richmond counties, collected $17,000, according to organizer Chris Jackson.
Jackson, a longtime officer with the Laurinburg Police Department, started the two-county ride in 2020 following a nationwide backlash against law enforcement.
Some of the riders started at Cross Roads Grill in Laurinburg and met with others at the Hide-A-Way Tavern north of Rockingham.
From there, the convoy headed back to Scotland County, passing by all the law enforcement agencies in the two counties along the way.
In all, there were 180 riders — which included motorcycles, several jeeps and other vehicles, as well as the law enforcement escorts and trucks from the Laurinburg Fire Department and Jackson’s Diesel Service.
The ride raised $700 in its first year. However, that total has steadily increased with each subsequent ride, bringing in $12,000 in 2021 and $14,000 in 2022.
Last year, the Rockingham Police Department was able to help 11 families, giving each child a $350 spending limit for its 10th annual Shop with a Cop event.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Shop with a Deputy program started in 2020. Last year, more than 30 kids each received a gift card with a $250 spending limit as deputies and other RCSO employees walked with them around Walmart and helped keep track of their purchases.
Four previous rides hosted by the Hide-A-Way this year have brought in more than $20,000 combined for the Silvertip Hunt Club’s annual veterans hunting trip, Project Taylor, Pence Place and Richmond County Special Olympics.
See more photos of the Back the Blue Ride from the Hide-A-Way below.