Saturday, May 3, 2014

Carlsbad, California - Day One
The 2014 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America

Over 175 riders line-up for the 20th Anniversary “Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.”
Over 175 riders line-up for the 20th Anniversary
“Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.”
When former NASCAR driver and racing analyst, Kyle Petty, informs you that his Charity Ride will depart on schedule, at 6:45 in the morning, you had better set your alarm clock. At 6:40 a.m. sharp, the sirens broadcasted to the ride members that they had just five minutes remaining before they would embarked on the cross-country motorcycle trek descriptively entitled the “Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America.” This transformative charitable adventure began in Carlsbad, California this morning and after traveling more than 2,800 miles, is scheduled to conclude in Daytona Beach, Florida on May 10, 2014.

“What began as just a few friends having a good time riding track to track has turned into what we have today, which is an incredible event that provides thousands of life changing experiences for children,” said Petty. “This is the first year we’ve traveled straight from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it with friends, while meeting our fans and generous supporters along the way.”

As the Carlsbad, California sun rises, Rutledge Wood and his friend Kyle Petty head out for the Charity Rider meeting
As the Carlsbad, California sun rises, Rutledge Wood and his friend Kyle Petty
(furthermost left) head out for the Charity Rider meeting
As the sun rose higher in the blue beach town sky, Petty could be found instructing his “friends” while standing on a pulpit consisting of a Coca Cola truck’s tailgate. The 2014 Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is made possible by presenting sponsor Manheim, as well as Coca-Cola, Dodge, Pilot Flying J, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Racing Electronics, FLUIDYNE Racing Products, WinCraft Racing, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the Petty Family Foundation, Beef Jerky Outlet, and Original Bike Spirits.

The first day will traverse 450 miles and be the longest day of the ride. There are two “pit stops” on the schedule and the riders received instructions to start each of the ride’s “pit stops” by refueling their vehicles. After they completed that task, they are free to line up at the bathroom facilities.

“Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America” riders listen intently.
“Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America” riders listen intently

Ever the Victory Junction Camp fund recruiter, Kyle offer the riders the opportunity to purchase a “Golden Ticket” for a small donation.

“I am not sure that is a good name for it,” Kyle joked, “but the Golden Ticket will get you to the front of the line to the portapottys at the fuel breaks.”

Rutledge and Kyle remind riders to use their sunscreen generously.
Rutledge and Kyle remind riders to use their sunscreen generously.

Kyle Petty’s funniest ride tip had to be, “If you ain’t urinating, you ain’t hydrating; stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.”


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Although the mood of the early morning ride participant’s meeting was jovial and filled with camaraderie; a few moments were taken to reflect on the true meaning of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride. The ride founder also took the prospect to remind everyone about his mother’s Memorial Donation. A gift of ten dollars will secure a Petty Blue Memorial Sticker and Ribbon in honor and remembrance of Lynda Petty's legacy of love for the camp. (You can go to victoryjunction.com for more info and to get your own memorial sticker)

The support vehicles followed as the Charity Riders departed.

Petty’s ride is well organize and supported by a huge volunteer staff. Moreover, the riders are instructed in great detail as to the protocol in place and designed to ensure an enjoyable and safe event. Yesterday, first-time partakers attended a mandatory safety and skill class given by Ride Marshals who are mostly North Carolina Highway Patrol Officers.

Herschel Walker start the ride as Kyle Petty (in the background) finishes preparing for his departure.
Kyle Petty and special guest, Herschel Walker (who retired from the NFL in 1997), began their seven-day coast to coast odyssey a little behind the pack of riders. For Petty, this later start was more than excusable.

While filming the spectacular sight and sounds of 175 plus motorcycles leaving the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa roundabout, a gap between the departing racers became noticeable.

A ride participant toward the middle of the pack had dropped his bike; snagging the Harley Davidson next to him before hitting the hard asphalt.

Kyle Petty is the last rider to start the Charity Ride.
Petty parked his ride, which was at the front, and sprinted back to assist the fallen rider. First he helped lift the heavy motorcycle up and off of the driver. Then he personally started the bike and gave it a quick inspection before the shaken ride participant was encouraged to return to the horde.

This personal hands-on approach is characteristic of Kyle Petty’s level of involvement and commitment to this charitable undertaking.

Communities along the route are encouraged to show support for the riders, meet Petty and also contribute to the Charity Ride’s “Small Change. Big Impact.” program that benefits children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

NASCAR Race Mom will be posting daily updates. Tomorrow, the ride will leave from Tucson, Arizona.

You can follow Kyle Petty and the riders live by visiting facebook.com/KPCharityRide and/or on Twitter at @kpcharityride or @kylepetty . Be sure to use the hashtag #kpcr20.

Now in its 20th year, more than 7,330 riders have logged more than 10.7 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated $15 million to Victory Junction Camp and other children’s charities. The Victory Junction Camp operates solely on the generous donations of individuals, corporations and foundation.

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