Mary's Dream riders take stand against domestic violence
EVART – Motorcycle riders from across the state took the Mary's Dream organization's motto "Living Without Fear" to a literal level as they rode their bikes from Mount Pleasant to Evart on Saturday.
The annual Ride Against Domestic Violence began as a memorial for Mary Babb, who was killed by her husband in the Morning Sun Publishing Company's parking lot in Mount Pleasant in 2007. It also served as a fundraiser for her son's education fund.
This year, the ride attracted 66 bikes and even more riders from as far as Detroit, according to event organizer Beth Mills. All proceeds from the ride go to local women and children's shelters and organizations such as the Women's Aid Service in Isabella County. Shelters can use the funds for everything from operation costs to building repairs.
Mills said the ride generally raises around $4,000 and that she expects a similar amount this year. The first-ever H58 Hurricane Highway Fun Run was held in the Upper Peninsula earlier this summer and raised $4,000 as well.
Shelly Fox, of McMillan Township, was Babb's godfather and is the founder of the Ride Against Domestic Violence. He said he appreciates the support the event gets from area law enforcement, including the Isabella County Sheriff Department, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, the Clare County Sheriff Department and the City of Clare Police Department.
"I think it's phenomenal," Fox said. "I can't say enough about them. Each year they're here for us."
After registration and a 50/50 raffle at 9 a.m., riders took off from the Morning Sun parking lot in Mount Pleasant at 11 a.m. From there, they traveled to the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds where they gathered for lunch and a silent auction in the community building.
Several riders remarked on the good weather and the sense of comradery the ride brings them.
"Seeing the people come back year after year is amazing," Fox said. "The bottom line that we've adopted is that there's no excuse for abuse. We've got 3,800 animal shelters in the United States and only 1,500 women's shelters. I'm a dog lover, but there's something wrong with that."
Earlier in the day, one rider was injured on his way to the starting point in Mount Pleasant. At approximately, 9:15 a.m., officials said the man struck a deer while on his motorcycle and was airlifted to a nearby hospital for non-life threatening injuries. According to Fox, this is the first year the man has missed the event.
In addition to the annual Ride Against Domestive Violence and the fun run in the Upper Peninsula, the Mary's Dream organization will host a scrap booking event in October in Evart as well as the first-ever Mary's Dream Golf Outing next summer in St. Charles.