Sounding off

Boys & Girls Club members name ride that will benefit club

Photo with no caption
By Lance Coleman
Senior reporter
Blount Today

The rumble of motorcycle engines echoed off the front wall of the Blount County Boys and Girls Club facility in Eagleton on Dec. 14 when members of the Dixie Iron Riding Association pulled into the parking lot.

They were there to give an award to the winner of a contest for naming the group’s fundraiser for the club, scheduled for April 7. The club’s clients, youngsters served by Boys and Girls Club, were the contestants. Lauren Fraser, 7, of Blount County was credited with the winning name for the event: "The First Annual Boys and Girls Club Motorcycle Ride."
Lauren was subdued in her reaction to winning. "I’m happy!" she said.

Her mom, Heather Fraser, was on hand and talked about how Boys and Girls Club had affected her life. "For Lauren, she’s really matured, and she’s more helpful around the house," Heather Fraser said.

Mike Kirby with Dixie Iron said the organization is young. There are 18 members involved now. Kirby said several in the group were involved with Boys and Girls Club growing up and that’s why they wanted to help.

"My dad was in the Boys and Girls Club growing up," Kirby said. "I used to come and play as a kid."

Maryville Fire Chief Ed Mitchell was on hand to congratulate the winner and have fun with the youngsters.

"We wanted to make sure we have a name early," he said. "We wanted to get a name on it to get early registrations. We want a great turnout."

Kirby was optimistic the event will grow. "I think this is a thing that will continue," he said. "Maybe in the future, we’ll do it twice a year. That would be good."

Boys and Girls Club executive director Gary Honaker said including the club’s young clients in the planning invested them in the event. They got to have input on the front end as well as being able to benefit through the event’s fundraising for the club, he said.

Mitchell praised the club for its work with children. "The Boys and Girls Club is a very, very important part of this community.

It takes money to do this work. We want to make this into one of the biggest rides of year," he said. "Twenty-five years down the road, I’d like to see this still going strong and being a huge fund-raising event for the Girls and Boys Club."

The April event will be the first Saturday in April. It will be a short ride from Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson and Buell to Pearson Springs Park off Montvale Station Road in Maryville. Registration is $20. For information, call 865-982-2426.

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