Saturday, July 21, marks the fifth annual Combat Vets Motorcycle Association’s Fifth Annual Ghost Ride.
As has been in the past, each year the ride is bigger and better, and all for the benefit of Clinton, Essex and Franklin County Disabled American Veterans.
“The first get together had about a half dozen vets from New England,” remembers John Conley, one of the organizers and Association member.
Some of the vets from out of the area knew there were a lot of veterans in the area but they didn’t know how to connect, reach out to get things going. They got in touch with Conley and together they found enough veterans with combat experience to from a Chapter 30 members strong at first, Chapter N.Y. 19-3 Combat Vets Motorcycle Association. The first year’s ride had a half dozen riders and was not a fundraiser.
“The second year we were twenty-five strong but still not fundraising,” Conley said. “The third year, the numbers were up even further and have grown since. This time we did a fundraiser and brought in $2,500. The fourth year, we had even more riders and raised over $4,000 and we hope for more this year.”
While this has combat veterans coming from all over the North Coast, it is an open ride for any and all.
“All the proceeds to benefit Clinton, Essex and Franklin DAV, Disabled American Veterans,” Conley said. “The cost for the ride is $10 a bike, rider included. At the end of the ride there is a pig roast at the American Legion in Ticonderoga at 5 p.m. for $10 a person.”
Conley also talked about the events of the day.
“Kickstands up at 10 a.m. sharp at Treadway’s Sunoco in Ticonderoga,” He said. “The ride proceeds to the a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient and Vietnam Veteran Raymond “Buzzy” Wright in Mineville. The guest speaker at this ceremony will be Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward. From there we head north to Rick’s Place in Willsboro where the owner, Rick Sayward, is hosting a free barbeque lunch for the riders.”
After lunch, the riders will continue onto AuSable Chasm for a stop and turnaround before heading back south to Ticonderoga, anticipated arrival being 4:30 p.m.
With a five year history, this is not an average weekend joyride by any means. The event is well organized and attended and as a wonderful acknowledgement to combat veterans, many members of the local communities come out to show their respect with participation including local police departments, fire departments and business people who help with traffic control and honoring attendance.
Conley thanked the Towns of Mineville and Ticonderoga for their continued and very active support of the ride.
Even if not motorcyclists, all people are more than welcome to join in at any of the stops and show/give support to those who sacrificed so much for the many liberties we enjoy daily. The entire ride and Pig Roast is open to all members of the public, so come out and enjoy this once a year truly American event.