ROCKINGHAM — A benefit motorcycle ride on Saturday raised $5,000 to help children with special needs.
The inaugural Saddle Up for Down Syndrome ride drew 70 riders on nearly 50 bikes to support Sandhills Children’s Center, in honor of 9-year-old Ashlee Verde, daughter of Jay and Jessie Verde.
After the ride, Ashlee even put her hand prints on many of the T-shirts that were sold.
“Very few people know about Down syndrome, so I want to do some awareness,” Jay Verde said the day before the event, adding that there are “so many levels” of functionality of those afflicted with the disorder.
He also praised Sandhills Children’s Center for doing “a phenomenal job” with his daughter and another special needs kids in Richmond County.
The convoy of bikers left Casey’s Cove, a private club on Pinetop Street, and headed north on Cartledge Creek Road. From there, they turned east onto N.C. 73, riding to Derby Road, then back down U.S. 1, making a stop at the Moose Lodge before coming back to the starting point.
Once they returned, Jay Verde thanked everyone who came out to support the cause.
While they were gone, chicken quarters were cooking on a grill for the plate sale that was part of the fundraising efforts.
There was also a 50/50 raffle, as well as an auction and door prizes, with items including pineapple and blueberry wine from Little River Vineyards, motorcycle helmets, a one-month gym membership to Evolution Fitness and a handmade Harley Davidson tumbler.
Casey’s Cove is hosting another ride, along with a corn hole tournament, on March 30 to benefit the family of Jimmy Raines.