More than 285 motorcyclists, led by NASCAR racer Kyle Petty, roared into Pooler Thursday on their way down to Hollywood, Fla. The bikers taking part in the Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride made a pit stop at the Sam’s Club to fuel up, hydrate and mingle with the folks who came out to support them.
University of Georgia football legend and 1982 Heisman Trophy award winner Herschel Walker greeted fans, as did former supermodel Niki Taylor and Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy.
Pooler Mayor Mike Lamb was ecstatic that his city was going to be in the spotlight.
“I can’t think of a better place to stop on the way to Florida than Pooler. It’s great that Kyle is coming to our city and including us in this wonderful cause. He is doing a great job.”
It cost $3,500 to ride in the 2,800 mile eight-day trek that started July 14 in Bar Harbor, Maine, and ended Saturday in Hollywood, Fla.
The purpose of the ride is to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a year-round camp for seriously ill children in Randleman, N.C. The riders stopped by the camp and met the children Wednesday.
Jeff Pospisil of Leesburg, Fla. is in his fifth year supporting Petty’s cause and said it is one of the best things he has ever done.
“It’s a good cause and it changes your life,” he said. “When you go to the camp and see the kids it tears your heart apart, but they are happy. We raise money so they can go to camp one week out of the year and it doesn’t cost the family anything. They get to do things that they never get to do. We realize that we don’t have any problems and the kids at the camp don’t realize they have problems. It’s amazing.”
In addition to raising money for a worthy cause, Pospisil said he enjoys the camaraderie and riding his Harley across the country.
“I have seen places that I never would have seen,” he said. “They always take us out of the way and where else can you ride 80-90 miles per hour, wave at state troopers and they wave back.”
Riding 2,800 miles, a biker sees several different parts of the country. Pospisil said Bar Harbor, Gettysburg, Pa., and the Saratoga race track in New York, were three of his favorite spots.
Since opening in 2004, Victory Junction Gang Camp has changed the lives of more than 4,500 children ages 7-15. It is a year-round camp but during the summer, the camp offers week long disease-specific sessions.
Chick-fil-A is a corporate sponsor and Pooler store operator Leslie Parkman said he enjoys sponsoring the camp. The company has extended its contract with Petty through 2010.