LAKE PLACID-The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America announced the route today for its 17th anniversary motorcycle event, which takes place May 7-14.
The opening day of the event will take place in Lake Placid, as Petty, former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and Charity Ride founder, will lead a field of more than 175 riders from Lake Placid to Amelia Island, Fla., as they raise awareness and funds for several causes, including Victory Junction, a camp for chronically ill children founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of their late son Adam.
What started more than a decade ago as four friends wanting to travel from one race track to another has grown into a highly organized motorcycle ride that raises funds for Victory Junction and other children's charities.
"The idea for the Charity Ride started back in 1993 with Robin Pemberton (Vice President of Competition, NASCAR), Eddie Gossage (President and General Manager, Texas Motor Speedway) and Michael Dranes (FOX network cameraman) and me just kind of riding from track to track," said Petty, who is the son of racing legend Richard Petty. "We called it the 'Hey Buddy Tour.'"
Petty said that the ride among friends continued to grow.
"What began as a few friends having a good time riding has turned into what we have today," he said. "Once we got started, we decided we needed to give back to the towns we rode through, so we started donating to children's hospitals along the way. The past few years though, it's really enabled us to make a difference at Victory Junction. We've built a water park and sent hundreds of kids to camp all because a bunch of people like to ride. It's pretty amazing to me."
Fans and spectators along the Charity Ride route may contribute through the Charity Ride's "Small Change/Big Impact," program, which accepts donations at pit stop locations. Fans may also follow Petty and the riders on several social media pages, including facebook.com/kpcharityride,twitter.com/kpcharityride, and twitter.com/kylepetty.
Since the Charity Ride's inception in 1995, 6,850 participants have logged more than 9.8 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $14 million to Victory Junction and other charities that support chronically ill children.
Victory Junction, which operates solely on donations, is a year-round camp serving children, ages 6 to 16, whose health issues would typically prevent them from attending camp. The Pettys founded the camp in 2004 and fundraising for a second Victory Junction in Kansas City, Kan., is currently underway.