By Eric Hagen
Anoka County Union
Over 2,500 motorcyclists will be roaring through communities in northern Anoka County and southern Isanti County on Saturday, June 18 to provide a visual show of support for the people that served or are still serving in the military.
The Patriot Ride brings out motorcyclists and observers, some who are veterans themselves and others who just want to show their support. For the second year in a row, the event’s home base is Ham Lake Lions Park, which is located on the south side of 157th Avenue and not too far west of Hwy. 65.
The deadline to pre-register for the event is June 16. Visit http://thepatriotride.org to pre-register. The cost is $25 per rider and $10 per passenger. You can register the day of the event, but the cost increases to $35 per rider.
The registration period, regardless if you pre-registered or not, begins at 9 a.m. June 18. The ride begins at noon.
Doug Bley, a Minnesota Patriot Guard board member, encouraged members of the community to attend this event to support the riders and troops. Besides the ride itself, there will be morning and afternoon ceremonies and an evening dance featuring the classic rock band The Wild Hogs. A display of World War II and Vietnam era military equipment will be on display. New this year is an obstacle course set up by the Minnesota National Guard.
There is no charge to attend the event unless you are riding, Bley pointed out.
Including the riders and observers, there have been over 5,000 people at these events, which means a lot to the troops serving overseas and their families.
“We want our cheers to be loud enough so military people around the world know we’re supporting them,” Bley said.
Parking at Ham Lake Lions Park is reserved for the riders. Parking for people attending the event is at Glen Cary Lutheran Church, 15531 Central Ave. N.E., in Ham Lake.
Cambridge stop, post-ride ceremony
The Patriot Guard provides flyers to those that live along the route to notify them of the ride, according to Bley. The public is encouraged to support the riders by lining the route where possible.
The riders will be stopping at the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center, 505 Spirit River Drive (Co. Rd. 70), in Cambridge around 1 p.m. on June 18. Displays of current military equipment and weapons will be available. A motorcycle stunt show will take place while the riders are there. The riders will depart from the Reserve Center beginning at approximately 2:45 p.m. with the last group leaving at 4 p.m.
The riders will depart the Reserve Center by heading down 1st Ave. W. (Hwy. 95) to Dellwood, turn right on Dellwood, head around the loop to 11th Ave. to East Rum River Drive to 18th Ave. S.W. The riders will then turn right on South Main Street and head toward Hwy. 65. Community members are encouraged to line the streets and show their patriotism and support.
After the riders return to Ham Lake Park later that afternoon there will be a special ceremony beginning around 5 p.m.