Counting blessings

United Way Back Roads Ride surpasses goal

The organizers of the 2010 United Way of Blount County Back Roads Ride are feeling thrice-blessed this week.

Which is pretty amazing since the unanswered prayer on most of their lips on Sunday morning was for “no rain.”

It rained, but the showers did not keep 50 motorcyclists from showing up to ride and numerous others joining the group at Courtyard Grille after the ride.

When the engines quieted and the infamous Joe Zappa barbecue was gone, co-chairs Jim Ford and Tara Rasher realized they had surpassed their goal of $10,000 and raised $11,215 -- three times the amount raised last year.

“It was fantastic,” said said Aaron Killian, marketing coordinator with the United Way of Blount County. “We had 50 riders come out in the rain to support United Way and when the dust settled, and we realized we raised over $11,000, one of the committee members said, ‘And we did it in the rain,’ It was phenomenal that the people came out to support this event despite the weather. This $11,215 we raised is three-times what we did last year.”

Killian said the barbecue Zappa prepared at end point was delicious and about 100 folks came for just the food. “On a rainy day to have 150 people come out for a United Way motorcycle ride was fantastic, and we couldn’t ask for more,” he said.

Back Roads Ride Committee co-chair Jim Ford praised the committee. “There are so many diverse talents associated with the committee. It brings an awesome committee together to make a group of individuals who just feed off each other to make things work well and fluidly for the entire event,” he said.

Co-chair Tara Rasher said that considering the weather, she had no complaints from the event. “We’re just thrilled with the results and that we had as many riders as we did. We’re just happy the community came out and supported us,” she said. “Between the live auction, the ride, the corporate sponsorship and the barbecue, it all came together.”

Ford and Rasher thanked the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Dixie Iron Riders motorcycle riding organization for escorting the riders and Holly Warlick, assistant head coach of the Lady Vols Basketball team, for serving as grand marshal.

The committee for the Back Roads Ride was composed of Jim Ford and Tara Rasher - co-chairs; Michelle Hankes, Aaron Killian, Jennifer Wackerhagen, Brenda Sellers, Greg Wilson, Mike Kirby with Dixie Iron Riders, Bill Kilgore with Dixie Iron Riders, Rob McDonald with Dixie Iron Riders, Debra Whaley McLain, Bill McLain, Joe Zappa, Keith Paul, Sherry Paul, John Hinkle, Dave Glass, Lea Anne Law, Regina Jennings and Debra House.

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