Kyle Petty’s cross-country ride to stop in Glenwood this Sunday
IF YOU GO:
What: Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America
When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5
Where: Hotel Colorado, 526 Pine St., Glenwood Springs
For former NASCAR driver and NBC Sports racing analyst Kyle Petty it all began as a fun way to go from one racetrack to the next with friends.
“We started it because we wanted to ride motorcycles from California to North Carolina, and we decided we would do it for charity,” Petty said.
Twenty-five years later the Kyle Petty Charity Ride has logged 12 million miles and raised $18.5 million for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.
The first year they stopped at children’s hospitals, helping a few families along the way.
“It has been phenomenal. The riders are the ones that makes this thing happen; they come out and give a week of their time, and donate money,” Petty added.
The tradition continued until 2000 when tragedy struck the Petty family.
“My oldest son Adam was killed in a racing accident. We decided as a family we would build a camp in North Carolina,” Petty said.
The Petty family founded Victory Junction in Randleman, North Carolina, in honor of Adam.
“We built the camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, that was totally free of charge,” Petty added.
“All the money we have raised since 2001 has gone straight to Victory Junction and to send kids to camp. That’s become our mission now.”
The camp, which opened its gates in 2004, is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
“Its been amazing, I tell people I lost one son, but I’ve gained 30,000 other kids that are coming to camp as part of my family,” Petty said.
“When I see Adam’s smile on their face, I know Adam is still here.”
NEXT STOP GLENWOOD
The 25th anniversary ride kicks off today as the ride leaves Seattle as 250 participants and 150 motorcycles begin the nine-day, 3,700-mile trek to Key Largo, Florida.
“This is corner to corner, we’ve gone from San Diego to Daytona, Maine to Miami, we have gone a multitude of routes from west to east and north to south, but we have never done a corner to corner like this,” Petty said
“What we tried to do is incorporate some places we have been before, and some that were our riders’ favorite places — Childress, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana, and Glenwood Springs — we have been trying to get back to Glenwood.”
The Charity Ride first came to the Roaring Fork Valley in the mid-’90s on one of the first rides.
Petty said he was sponsored by Coors at the time and wanted to visit the brewery in Golden, making a stop in Glenwood along the way.
“Everybody remembers it, from the hot springs to the snow, we are excited to come back to Glenwood Springs,” Petty said.
“We showed up there and had no idea that there was a hot springs, no idea.”
Petty said after a night fellowshipping and having a good time, the riders awoke to a spring snowstorm on the Western Slope.
“We had never ridden in snow in our life; we were scared to death. It went from one of the happiest nights we have ever had on a ride, to being scared out of our boots the next day,” Petty reminisced.
The ride is expected to rumble into Glenwood at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We are staying at the Hotel Colorado. We want the public to come out and be there when we get there,” Petty added.
“Will hang out as long as they want to hang out.”
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.