The second annual United Way of Blount County Backwoods Bike Ride raised $1,400 and drew more than 70 riders during the Sept. 21 event.
Aaron Killian, communications and marketing coordinator for United Way of Blount County said 2008 ride coordinators Lea Anne Law and Joe Zappa built on the ride Boyce Smith created in 2007. “Between the two they’ve expanded the expectations,” he said. “From the door prizes to the route, to the food and the T-shirts, they’ve built upon the concept of a United Way motorcycle ride.”
Zappa said the biker population was a segment of the community that hadn’t been approached about helping with United Way. “The bikers do a lot of giving,” he said. “Anything that has to do with children, they’re very charitable.”
Zappa said during the 2007 inaugural ride only 12 motorcycles showed. “This year we had 70. We had better marketing,” he said.
Law said businesses in the community promoted the ride and that made the difference. “It’s a safe ride. We did a full circle of the county, and we didn’t have to stop because of the great support from the law enforcement,” she said.
Killian said the ride grossed $1620 and netted $1,420 after expenses.
The event was supported by Foothills Wrecker and Blount County Sheriff’s Office. The riders were escorted by Maryville Police Department.
“A lot of folks were impressed with how well thought-out the route was. It was as constant flow of bikes. We wanted a ride that was safe, fun and enjoyable for everybody,” Killian said. “Dixie Iron Riders took the time and effort to work with Lea Anne and Joe to make the ride unique. I’ve heard everyone loved the ride.”
Mike Kirby, president of Dixie Iron Riders, said it was a great day for the ride. “The weather was perfect. We had about 75 bikes. We had a lot of support from Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryville Police Department and special thanks go out to the Highlanders Motorcycle Club,” he said.
Bill Kilgore thanked Two Doors Down and Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson Buell for their help.
Two Doors Down owner Jeff Brazeale said Zappa and Law approached him three or four months ago about doing the United Way benefit. “We provided the venue and had the Dixie Werewolves for the show,” he said.
Brazeale said it was easy agreeing to help with the benefit. “It’s United Way, why wouldn’t you want to help?” he said. “We were tickled to death to be able to help.”
Sponsors for the United Way of Blount County Back Wood Ride included Steel Horse Law, Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson Buell, WIMZ, Two Doors Down, Dixie Iron Riders; Tennessee Steel Horse Stable Mates.