Well folks, it has been a busy few months. Being from eastern NC and from tobacco share croppers, when we get close to an end of something or a goal, we refer to it as being in the "short rows." I am deep in them. They are short, yet thick, and many of them still....referring to the tasks that still lay ahead in these last seven and a half days leading up to the JAMR on Saturday June 11th!
What sort of things are there to do to pull off a gig like this you may ask? Well, it is quiet a production. So far this calendar year alone, The June JAMR has grown with establishing it's non profit status, establishing a board of directors, launching this awesome website...(cough, cough) thanks to Sharp Media Design and Brock Sharp!!! :), to growing sponsorships, renewing past sponsorships, to negotiating plans for not one, but two fundraising events this year, and then to the actual planning for those big events!!
Obviously The June JAMR (Jerry's Annual Memorial Ride) is and always will be Main EVENT!!! And did I mention it is almost here! ?? Then in August on the 25th, we will partner with several Goldsboro local businesses to provide delivery of BBQ plates for a plate sale fundraiser to supplement our annual JAMR efforts. Anyway...lets look at what goes into the actual RIDE!
First, we had to pick the date. Well...not really. When we started this thing up last year we decided then it would always be the second Saturday in June. Why you may ask? Well...most motorcyclist (bikers) know...once the weather gets warm, we get a little wind crazy. There are tons of rides and rallies. It is hard to plan anything in the biker world during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months here in the eastern part of the United States that doesn't coincide with something else going on at the same time in this industry. So, we have to compete with all these different events and it's tough. We finally just laid our finger on a weekend and said this is it. We tried not to run into major holidays, Myrtle Beach, SC Bike Weeks, or the Angier Bike Fest, yet we still compete with the ride of the Tail of the Dragon. There was no way we could ever find a single weekend that would not coincide with something. We rest easy knowing everyone will not Ride the Tail every year. LOL. So, the second Saturday in June it is and will always be. Brand that to your memory now. :)
Next we had to communicate with old sponsors and work on new ones. This process had to be started early. For this year we actually started this process right after the first annual JAMR had wrapped up, last year. Confirming logos and permissions, obtaining new ones, and getting written verifications from some....all were things that were undertaken early. Then came the creation of our event flyer, more approvals, adding all the same data to our website, and then the printing and posting...and sending it to those who were so kind to publish it for us... (cough, cough) thanks to Debbie Sykes aka "Doobie" and Behind Barz Magazine! A HUGE thanks also to the creators of many social media outlets and the pages within them that have shared our ride info as well!
Next was a plan for the ride route (always a work in progress - as we aim to year after year change things up a bit), then communication with an eatery - thanks again to Phyllis and Kitty at Ron's Barn BBQ & Seafood for all your support!! There is one thing you can count on about bikers - we love to eat - so good food was and always is a must for our participants!
Safety was then addressed for the ride route with communication and assistance from multiple county and city law enforcement officer escort/blockers. Speaking of safety, let me add, because we want our ride to be safe, memorable, comfortable, and entertaining, we expect the worse and prepare for it, hoping we never have to rely on it...but as a measure, we have a recovery truck with trailer for potential break downs that will bring up our rear. On board will be multiple coolers of bottled iced water, sunscreen, first aid kit, extra fuel (we know some don't have huge touring tanks on their bikes), and we will have at least one registered nurse and one first responder in our riding group! Additionally, country road areas of the route that some may be unfamiliar with, will be marked with stakes and streamers to indicate turns, just in case someone falls behind and has to play catch up. Trust me, we have tried to think of everything.
Registration for our ride - Thanks to Ray Price Harley-Davidson of Raleigh and especially Kris Weiss for hosting our event registration this year and for their very generous door prize contribution. Also thanks to Kris for his generosity in offering to emcee our lunch door prize drawings!! Stops on our ride include Devotional Gardens of Dunn, where the man of honor and memory is laid to rest, for a very brief memorial (Jerry would have wanted it even less than this probably). Then on to Ron's Barn for lunch and door prizes!!! We have tons of these...thanks to other stop businesses like Fun Products, Inc. of Goldsboro, and Cyclemax of Wilson - and tons of other businesses local to the ride route who have jumped in with free meal cards and gift cards, and merchandise - like Popeye's, Gieco, Farm Bureau, Dollar Tree, The Lantern Inn, Paradise Pawn, Harris Teeter, Carlie C's, Heidi's Two Wheel Café, and many, many more (please see our total list on our affiliates and sponsors pages)!!! We aim to not only feed our riders well, but make sure they have a blast on our ride and want to return next year...and bring friends!
All those door prizes, they came with time invested in building relationships. It has been work, but well worth it. Through these efforts we have established many friendships and strengthened existing ones.
Speaking of relationships...our networking in the communities that we try to involve has brought us to know many people we would have otherwise never known. Some of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing are bikers. While I am proud to be one, I have to say I am even more proud I am Jerry's daughter and through him and now his legacy, I have the pleasure of knowing people he knew that until recently I had never met and people he never knew that now know who he was. Many of these connections, I hope will be year after year participants in The June JAMR.
Who has done all this you may wonder? While I have led the team, it still takes the team to make the dream work. My immediate family and fellow board members, as well as tons of volunteers...there are about 30-40 of them at this point...it could never happen without these folks!!! We have all worked, picking up things, posting flyers, networking, selling craft bracelets that represent our cause, making calls, and meeting with ideas to make this thing work the best it can.
Why? We all had a common love for Jerry for starters....or for many, the products of Jerry, my brother and myself. As well, either because of our relationship with Jerry or with someone else, we have all felt the waves of sarcoidosis crash upon our shores. So, while a week from tomorrow we will ride and have fun - what Jerry WOULD have wanted - we all do it because we want others to know about sarcoidosis and how it can destroy individuals and scar the ones that love them.
Jerry - he was humble. Not a showman like me. Not sure where I got that quality from, but it wasn't from Jerry. Jerry would have thought all this hoopla was crazy and not necessary. But we promised him we would not let his memory die. We keep it alive for our family and his friends. And even though he may not have been too fond of our idea and the dream that is coming to be, he would have been proud. Proud of me and my brother for everything we are doing to try and help someone else not have to suffer the way he did...or the way we did as we stood alongside, confused, struggling to help without needed resources. Jerry was a giver. Always. He would do without for his loved ones and for a stranger. Any friend of his will attest to that. This is our way of helping him continue to give.
And....with that...Jerry would say, "Let's Ride!" Sure hope you will join us on Saturday, June 11th 2016 for the Second Annual June JAMR!
Until then, be well and ride safe my friends!~
Tracy aka "Red"