The BackStoppers Fallen Heroes Ride is returning Saturday to the Parkland for its seventh year of raising funds for the families of emergency responders who die in the line of duty.
The event kick offs at 10 a.m. Saturday at Midwest Sports in Farmington with registration beginning at 9 a.m.
According to Sheri Pratt, Midwest Sports service advisor/event coordinator, this year’s ride will also be raising funds for another important cause.
“In years past, we’ve always given 100 percent of our proceeds to BackStoppers,” Pratt said. “This year we’re going out on a limb and giving a part of our proceeds to the Mennonite community after the recent accident of one of their carriages on Highway OO that led to the death of a child. I corresponded with the BackStoppers and they are OK with sharing some of the profits from that.”
A 7-year-old boy was killed and four individuals seriously injured after a pickup truck struck a horse-drawn buggy just south of Route DD on northbound Route OO on the morning of July 11. Six Mennonites in the buggy were headed to Liberty Blueberry Farms and had almost arrived when it was struck by a pickup truck.
“All of our hearts break for children, obviously,” Pratt said. “Children, veterans and our first responders are always the ones we want to take care of here at Midwest Sports. The recent accident was very sad and we don’t know how to help them because they are such a private community.
“This is the only way we could think of to help them. They’re going to have financial needs because of all the medical expenses they face. They don’t really understand the reality of what they’re facing. We thought we’d step in and help out a little bit. Let them know that we’re here for them.”
She noted that, because BackStoppers is their main purpose for the event, she isn’t sure how the money will be divided between the two charities, but the desire of Midwest Sports is to help both of their needs as much as they can.
“It’s $20 per person and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to BackStoppers and the Mennonite community,” Pratt said. “It’s a 118-mile ride through four counties and we will make a few stops and have dinner along the way. As always, we will start and stop at Midwest Sports Center.”
The event is for motorcycles and vehicles. It is an on-road event that usually takes five to six hours to complete. As part of the ride, participants will stop at the Bonne Terre Fire House for lunch.
“They’re kind enough to help again this year by making lunch for us,” Pratt said. “We’re going to run around all the outskirts of our communities and come back here and enjoy everybody’s company for a few minutes. We’ll also have giveaways of items that we’ve acquired.”
Pratt added they start the morning off with a drivers meeting, answer questions, remember the fallen with a moment of silence for them and then have their travelers’ prayer.
“Be here at 9 a.m. — 9:30 at the latest — on Aug. 3,” she said. “You can register here that morning. Make sure you’re gassed up and ready to go. We’re going to do a drivers meeting and kind of go over any questions the riders might have at 9:40. We will leave out no later than 10 o’clock. We’ve got to get on the road because we’ve got a lot of places to stop.
“We welcome anybody who wants to hang out with us, have fun and be a part of the festivities. We just want to remember our first responders — fallen and present — and the Mennonite community that has suffered such a terrible loss.”
For more information, contact Pratt at Midwest Sports at 573-756-7975.
“They don’t really understand the reality of what they’re facing. We thought we’d step in and help out a little bit.” — Sheri Pratt, Midwest Sports Center
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or email@example.com