The 33rd annual MDA Ride comes to the LaPorte County Fairgrounds on Aug. 24, held by Region 2 ABATE of Indiana. According to Don Hewitt – more commonly known as Bear – the event really begins Friday night with a party held for those who helped set up at the fairgrounds.
“Actually it starts Friday night. What we do is we charge $5 a person for everybody Friday night to just help cover the charge of the DJ and stuff like that. It started off as just a thank-you for the people that helped set up, but it’s grown into a party for Friday night,” said Bear.
Bear said the cost is only $5 a person for the Friday night get-together to help cover the cost of the DJ.
Meanwhile, the ride itself kicks off Saturday in benefit of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, taking place in the back of the campgrounds with free camping. Bear said they offer free camping for tents and campers, though there is a cost of $25 to get in on Saturday for the ride. Ceremonies start at 1:30 p.m. with the raising of the flag, and at 2 p.m., the ride leaves, escorted by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department.
“I’d like to thank the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department. They block all the roads for us; they lead the ride, and they do this on their own time, it’s not on the county time or nothing like that. These guys do this on their own time, so I really appreciate those guys. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this ride,” Bear said.
In the past, Bear said the event has brought in around 350 bikes – a pretty big event, he said, that has raised more than $20,000 in the last four years.
To be a part of the ride, the gates open at 11 a.m. and the ride leaves at 2 p.m. sharp from the fairgrounds. Upon arrival after the ride, a band will entertain attendees, and fields event will be held as well as a bike show with trophies.
“We just encourage everybody to show up and help us support MDA. Every penny we make from this ride goes to MDA – every last penny,” said Bear.