A very special group of riders gathered at Trimble's covered bridge on Friday, Aug. 2 for an annual event that celebrates the joy of living in the moment and the importance of remembering those who have been lost.
The breakfast, hosted by the Ballard family, kicked off the third annual Vicki Ballard Memorial Ride. Riders participating in the bike run stretching nearly 1,200 miles to Sturgis, S.D. were nourished with both food and fellowship before their journey began.
Many of the bikers stopping into Trimble on Friday have been patrons of Michael Ballard's Full Throttle Saloon (the largest bar in Sturgis), have sampled Ballard's multiple S'loonshine flavors, or viewed Ballard's Full Throttle Saloon reality show on TruTV.
But most had a more personal reason for joining the ride originating behind Ballard's Full Throttle S'loonshine Distillery in downtown Trimble. The ride, which draws attention to breast cancer awareness, also honors the memory and legacy of Vicki Ballard.
"Cancer touches everybody," said Ruby Ballard. "Every family around has been touched by cancer. And if they haven't, they will be. We want to bring attention to breast cancer. To make people aware of it."
"It was Barry (Brockhurst)'s idea to blow up her photo and frame it," said Ruby Ballard. "They are going to pin pink ribbons around the wall every year. There are a lot of women riders."
"Barry and (Eddie) Butch (Robertson) came down early and we made a frame out of real old wood in the shop," said Cass Ballard. "Barry is a carpenter. We shipped the photo to Sturgis so it would be waiting on the riders when they arrive. Everybody who has a ribbon on their bike will sign it and hang it on the wall."
Cass Ballard also plans to launch a Vicki Ballard memorial website this year. The website will link to the Full Throttle Saloon website and offer breast cancer awareness tips to those who visit.
Tina Tedone and Kittie Privette, both of Fort Worth, Texas, are friends and 'partners in crime,' who drove 700 miles out of their way this year to kick off the run at the very beginning.
"I met (the memorial riders) in Kansas City last year," said Tedone, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor. "We wanted to be a part of (the ride), but we heard about it too late so we joined them in Kansas City. This year, I went 700 miles out of my way to come to breakfast."
On Friday morning, riders beginning the memorial run at the covered bridge fixed pink ribbons to their handlebars and packs.
From Trimble, riders traveled approximately 450 miles to Kansas City, where they spent the night. On Saturday morning, they were treated to breakfast by the Worth Harley Davidson dealership in Kansas City before heading north approximately 500 miles to Chamberlain, S.D.
On Sunday, the group completed the last leg of the ride, traveling 230 miles from Al's Oasis to the Full Throttle Saloon. Michael Ballard traditionally meets the riders at their last stop and joins them for the ride into town.
Those interested in more information on the Vicki Ballard Memorial Ride or Full Throttle Saloon or S'loonshine may visit www.fullthrottlesaloon.com.