About 30 motorcycles cruised into the Depot Restaurant’s parking lot on Tuesday, and prior to leaving the Dobson restaurant riders presented local Special Olympics athletes with a $2,500 check.
The riders are part of the Dream Ride Experience, which leads riders on a trek from West Palm Beach, Florida, to Farmington, Connecticut. According to ride spokeswoman Marilyn Demartini last year the ride raised about $1.2 million, primarily for Special Olympics.
Connecticut native Mike Bozzuto, who owns a grocery store supply company, started the ride 15 years ago. Bozzuto said the ride brings a great deal of enjoyment to him.
“Seeing how much the athletes appreciate it when we put a medal around their necks is what drives us,” said Bozzuto. “This event is all about bringing the community together.”
Echoing Bozzuto’s sentiment, Demartini said that “tears, smiles and joy is what really fuels this ride.” Demartini said that the event is all about recognizing athletes and helping them to feel included in the world.
According to Demartini the money that is distributed along the ride is collected in a number of different manners. Demartini said that each rider is charged with collecting a $3,000 fee in order to gain entry into the ride. Additionally, Demartini said that a number of larger sponsors and donors contribute money to the fund.
One matter that Demartini highlighted is that funds are distributed to local Special Olympics groups along the ride and used in providing opportunities for local athletes.
Bozzuto said that the celebration doesn’t just conclude at the end of the road in Connecticut. “The celebration we will have once we reach Connecticut is huge,” commented Bozzuto. Bozzuto added that the festivities up north will include concerts and other events over the course of two days.
Additionally, Demartini said that there is a 40-mile ride once riders hit the end of the trail. She said that ride, which has a much cheaper entry fee, will include hundreds of riders.
In addition to the $2,500 donation with which the local Special Olympics committee was presented, Bozzuto said that the ride will be sponsoring four athletes trips’ to Connecticut in order to take part in the festivities there.
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. Andy can be reached at (336) 415-4698 or [email protected]