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Bikers in Colorado Unite and Ride Against Child Abuse

An Awesome Event Covered By Awesome Bikernet Betsy

Betsy Huelskamp
6/27/2012


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My Colorado riding friends, old & new! Mark, Masyn, Duane, Rachel & Damon.

As my days in Colorado are coming to an end, I wanted to do a ride that involved the people of the Colorado bike world, in addition to already enjoying its spectacular roads and landscapes. I called my friend Ken Conte from “Rise Above Consulting” to see if anything was happening in Colorado for Memorial Day weekend, and he invited us to the Realities Ride & Rally benefitting abused children happening in and around Old Towne Fort Collins. So we crashed at my friend Masyn’s new pad in Boulder, and headed up to Fort Collins to check out the venue.

My old pal Ken Conte from “Rise Above Consulting”.

Masyn is a great cook & hostess with the mostess! Duane, Masyn, her pretty girl Devin, and my guy Mark.

The streets of Old Town were already blocked off to accommodate bike parking, and the first thing I noticed about this rally that differed from some others, was the mix of bikers and people from the community all gathered together to enjoy the festivities of the weekend to benefit a worthy cause. Families, bikers, hippies playing hacky sack and children riding skateboards filled the sidewalks and gathered in crowds to watch the multitude of attractions, oddities and entertainment.

Bikes rolling into the rally past the main music stage.

The crowd in Old Town Fort Collins.

There is beauty in oddity!

Ken is a pro at organizing events smoothly, and he was there when we pulled up to introduce me to the Ride and Event Organizer Craig Secher, who is also the President of the organization Realities for Children. Craig and I ducked inside their headquarters for a few minutes so that Craig could tell me about his organization and the events he has created to raise money, so that no child falls through the cracks. No child should be abused, neglected, or at risk in any way. No child should be forgotten.

Me with event organizer and president of Realities for Children, Craig Secher.

Craig with the Sugar Mills Girls, who were the official Realities Ride hostesses!

We all know that child abuse is a terrible thing, right? That seems like a given, like it goes without saying………but if we ALL know that, then the numbers are heart breaking. In Larimer County alone, 5,732 reports of child abuse were received in 2011. When I heard that number, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it! Five children in America die every day as a result of being abused, usually by someone they know, and sadly by the only person they have to love or trust.

It is easy to see that Craig is great with kids and loves what he is doing! Here with the Rattlesnake Reservoir Young Marines.

Craig, who left his job out of frustration as a child protection case manager with Larimer County Child Protective Services, went on to tell me how his organization was founded to fill in the gaps. As an example he told me the story of a young girl whose father attempted to kill her and permanently damaged her eye. Then he went on to kill her mother in front of her. She was sent to live with an uncle who sexually abused her for years. In an attempt to escape him, she sustained a knife injury to her already scarred face. With help from Realities for Children, she was able to receive plastic surgery to give her the chance at the life she deserves. There are several organizations designed to rescue children from abuse, but Craigs vision was to unite the organizations, and not only fill in gaps, but go above and beyond to give every child the opportunities they were robbed of. In 2011 $35,000 in collegiate scholarships were given to local youths who have triumphed over their past abuse.

In a matter of minutes, Craig’s passion for what he is doing was obvious and overwhelming. His wife, friends, co-workers and over 300 volunteersshared his passion to make the 11th annual Realities Ride & Rally a success, and that is just one of the many fundraisers this small organization puts on every year. This year they had an estimated 3,100 bikes, 15,000 attendees, and raised over $100,000. Every person working to make the event possible is a volunteer, and 100% of all donations made to Realities for Children are directly distributed to the youth they serve.

Support from the community came in many forms!

It always warms my heart to see the outpouring of support bikers bring to the needs of their communities. A sea of bikes filled the parking lot of Thunder Mountain Harley Davidson in Loveland, Colorado. The ride has grown so large that they have split the Poker Run into two groups. They have two different routes that you can choose from that circle a 100 mile loop that met up in the middle. The sunny day started out with sky jumpers landing right in front of us carrying American flags, which was the perfect tribute on Memorial Day to the men and women who have served our country, and paid the price for our freedom.

Crowd gathering for the poker ride at Thunder Mountain Harley Davidson.

Sky jumpers waving our flag of freedom as a great voice sang our National Anthem.

The ride was led by some of our countries Vets.

Having our Vets present gave special meaning to Memorial Day. It’s never too late for any of us to say thank you, or welcome home to a vet!

For a sizable ride and rally, this event went off without a hitch! The scenic hilly rides had the local Harley Owners Group flagging you in the right direction at every turn. Each stop provided good music, good food, ample parking, and lots of shade. It was a perfect sunny day, and a great way to spend time with old friends, and a great place to hook up with new ones! Our first stop was at Fickle Park in Berthoud.

No better way to start the day than eating watermelon in the park!

Even the entertainers volunteered their time and services.

I just love fringed chaps! Don’t you?

Coloradee folks in their buffalo skin boots and top hats!

The mid-day destination was a quaint valley nestled in the hills in an old town called Masonville, which had an old mercantile store with beautiful ladies dressed in days gone by! There were old time trains and memorabilia in a park surrounded with spectacular sculptures of wildlife. It was the perfect location for both sections of the ride to merge and have a leisurely lunch before heading to the last stop.

Bikes and bikers taking over the little town of Masonville.

The beautiful ladies of yesteryear!

Just one of the spectacular sculptures surrounding the park.

One of the fun things about the bike world these days is meeting other friends who ride on Facebook. I had talked to Rachel Sessions a few times online when we saw that we lived in the same state. We tried to hook up several times before, and finally met at the Realities Ride. Rachel is a beautiful and talented woman, who has a unique and interesting hobby which she is taking to the stage this summer in Sturgis. Rachel is a fire dancer, so look for her at the Buffalo Chip live and on stage on August.

The beautiful fire dancer Rachel Sessions.

The handsome couple, Rachel & her hubby Damon.

Me & my new pal Rachel!

Last stop on the Poker Run was a local bar called T Bar in Wellington where everyone enjoyed a cool drink with friends and some music before heading back to rally central where the festivities were already underway.

The girls.

The boys.

Me & my guy.

The first attraction or might I say distraction as you pull into Fort Collins was the Hooters Bikini Bike Wash. I was busy noticing the many Bikers for Jesus clubs in attendance, while my boyfriend was borrowing my camera to catch the Hooter girls bending over doing their job! They were so darn young and cute! The music never stopped playing, as 34 bands took turn entertaining throughout the weekends festivities. Old Towne was hoppin as we were floppin. After a long weekend of riding we just wanted to sit and eat and relax.

Hooters Bikini Bike Wash.

Pretty young girls are a bike rally requirement!

Bikers for Jesus clubs.

The message of Jesus comes in all packages.

For all of the activities we did see and do, there were many that took place that we missed. There was an awesome firework display, the Suicidal Lifestyle Stunt Teams did tricks and of course there were Burnout Pits. There was a Hot Rod show, a Biker Rodeo, Covenant Tattoo’s Piercing Ambulance for onsite piercing, and cash and prize giveaways. The winning hand of the poker run took home $1,500 cash.

The awesome firework display.

Suicidal Lifestyle Stunt Teams.

A biker dude & his best friend!

Now that is one scary biker dog!

A real biker dog has attitude.

All in all, I’d have to say this was one of the best organized bike events I have ever been to. A large group of bikers, friends and an entire community came out, had fun, danced the night away on the streets of Old Towne, and raised a great amount of money for a seriously important and often overlooked cause. What could be more important than protecting the natural innocence of our youth?

Innocence deserves to be protected at all costs. I’m still innocent……right?

I bid my new friends adu, and we all hit the long road home.

If you would like to attend or learn more about future Realities Rides or the organization Realities for Children, go to:

www.RealitiesForChildren.com

www.RealitiesRide.com


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Reader Comments


Here is a video of the 2012 Realities Ride posted on the Realities for Children You Tube channel which I produced:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE7P7Q8TF4M

Vincent Burkardt
FORT COLLINS, CO
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
This was an awesome tribute to this great cause. Our Thunder Mountain H.O.G. Chapter 0411 has been proudly involved with Craig and this event since its inception. This year was a record breaking year in that this event raised $115,000 for the neglected children of Larimer County. I recently spoke with Craig there are now plans for a Boulder and Weld County Realities for Children. Craig is a great man doing great things.

Thank you for writing this article.

Steve Robinson
Director
Thunder Mountain H.O.G. Chapter 0411

Steven Robinson
Loveland, CO
Friday, June 29, 2012
Loved your article, the only thing that I could tell you is that Craig is a wonderful guy for what he has done past, present and what he will do in the future. Also the Thunder Mtn Chapter of HOG were the ride leaders of the two routes not the Vets-they were honorary leaders along with BACA behind the HOG chapter.

We have ridden this ride for many years and if it wasn't for them leading and doing the corners so that you don't have to follow a map, the ride wouldn't be as safe as it is. Cudos to them and everyone who helps Craig on his mission.

Wild Dove
Fort Collins, CO
Friday, June 29, 2012

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