More than 50 motorcycles braved rain and windy conditions along a 460-mile route as a part of “Ride to Clyde” – a new North Carolina Baptist annual event to aid Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).
The May 4-7 charity ride consisted of a scenic tour that included stops at three of BCH’s locations. The route stretched from Oak Island to the mountain community of Clyde. BCH’s Broyhill Home is located in the Western North Carolina town and was the last stop of the trek.
Coordinators of the first-year ride said the event surpassed its goals.
Bikers arrive at Baptist Children’s Home’s Broyhill Home campus in the mountains of Clyde completing the final leg of the three-day “Ride to Clyde” motorcycle charity ride.
“Riders more than tripled the $5,000 fundraising goal as we exceeded $19,000 in contributions for BCH,” said Brian Davis, Associate Executive Director-Treasurer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). “Participants heard, saw and even felt the power of the gospel along the ride. Numerous gospel conversations took place, and I was moved by the times of prayer that participants shared.”
“Ride to Clyde,” a partnership between BSC and BCH, grew out of a conversation between Davis and Rit Varriale, pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby. The idea was to generate support for BCH by challenging bikers to raise money while introducing them to BCH’s different ministries.
“It’s one thing to read about BCH or watch a video, but to actually go and interact with the children and leaders, hear their stories, and see where they live was a moving experience,” Varriale said.
Jody Yopp, pastor of Kellum Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and a group from his church were a few of the many Baptists who participated.
“The best part of the program is that it brings Baptists who help to fund this ministry to BCH’s campuses,” Yopp said. “I was telling someone that I felt uninformed because I hadn’t been to some of these places. It is something Baptists should do more often.”
Their first stop of the ride was Cameron Boys Camp in Moore County, a year-round residential wilderness ministry where boys live in campsites and shelters they build.
“As the bikers pulled up to Camp, we could feel the boys’ excitement and their anticipation,” Varriale said. “That set everything up for success.”
The campers and their counselors, known as chiefs, gave campsite tours to the bikers and described how they live day-to-day in the outdoors.
“Going to the campsite and hearing them talk through the process of building a new tent, cooking their meals, and seeing where they study was impressive,” Varriale says.
After staying overnight at Caraway Conference Center in Asheboro, riders arrived the following day at Mills Home in Thomasville. There, more than three dozen children attending BCH’s Weekday Education program greeted cyclists.
Riders gathered around the front steps of the campus church to hear from former BCH resident Paulina Hanner who shared the impact of her six years in care at Mills Home.
“I was introduced to Jesus Christ by one of my houseparents,” Hanner shared. “Living here changed my life forever.” She shared how she has realized her dream of becoming a foster care social worker. “I’ve been given the opportunity to change the lives of others in the community the same way BCH changed my life.”
Bikers then traveled west to Ridgecrest Conference Center near Black Mountain. The next day, the group headed to Broyhill Home in Clyde.
The final leg of the ride on May 7 ended at BCH’s western campus in conjunction with the “Cookin’ for the Kids Broyhill Home Barbecue Festival.”
The barbecue festival, which is in its ninth year, is spearheaded by members of Ninevah Baptist Church in Waynesville and pastor Mike Leslie. The festival raised $26,892.00 – a record total.
“It’s amazing to see the commitment and investment of our NC Baptist friends,” said BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell. “We can’t wait to see what God has in store next year.”
The dates for the 2017 “Ride to Clyde” are May 10-13.
“We hope that participants will begin planning now for their fundraising efforts for the 2017 ride,” Davis said. “Most importantly, we hope next year’s participates will begin praying about inviting a friend who doesn’t know Christ to join the ride.”
For more information, find “Ride to Clyde” on Facebook or call Brian Davis’ office at 1-800- 395-5102, extension 5501.