I’ve had the privilege in taking part in Kyle Petty’s “Charity Ride Across America” for 15 of the 16 years since it was established in 1995. The event gathers motorcycle riders from all across the country as we make the journey from coast to coast, all in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Victory Junction and other children’s charities.
This year we started our 3,300-mile trek in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday and will make our way to our final stop at the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., on Sunday, May 9. We’re on Day 3 of our nine-day journey, and so far it has been one of the prettier rides that I have been on as we’ve gone through California, Nevada and Utah.
It’s always great to see Herschel as he’s been a part of the charity ride for years. I couldn’t resist giving him some mixed martial arts tips so he can perform a little bit better in the ring next time. Every time I see him he looks like he could put the pads on and line up in the backfield again, and be just as great. He told me he would like to fight one more time. He said he loves the competition but can’t train as hard as he used to. I feel sorry for the guy he fights next.
Herschel is riding a custom bike made by Strokers Dallas that he named “Victory” but calls “Victoria.” During the first couple days of the ride, he has been petting and talking to “Victoria” because he has almost run out of gas. With a smaller fuel tank than everyone else, making it to the next stop is always a challenge. I saw him talking to his bike saying, “Victoria, you can do it.”
Visiting with Herschel is just one of the many things I love about the ride. Getting to reunite with 400 of your closest friends for a wonderful cause is pretty amazing. Kyle Petty always says to the riders, “We are just like one big family.” It is just like one big family as we carry on conversations like we’ve known each other for years. I’m just glad I get to be a small part of this big event.