Yes, you read it right — an upcoming motorcycle ride will help kids learn to fish!
On Sunday, June 13, riders from across the region will embark from the Crown Coliseum headed to the USS North Carolina in Wilmington. The Ducks Unlimited Bike Ride will have riders on all types of motorcycles and trikes, gathered together to support the mission of Ducks Unlimited, the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.
Proceeds from the ride support the work of the Ducks Unlimited chapter here in Cumberland County. Specifically, the ride will help fund the groups annual Green Wing Adventure. The annual David Varnedoe Green Wing Adventure provides an opportunity for 700 area children to go fishing and learn about conservation. The event takes place in mid-September each year at the John Pechman Fishing Center.
“Last year we took more than 700 kids fishing and our goal is 800 this year,” said M.L. Core, Chairman of the Cumberland County chapter of Ducks Unlimited, adding that one day is devoted entirely to children from the Falcon Children’s Home.
“The GreenWing program is for kids age 17 and younger. It teaches them not to pollute our wetlands and to appreciate the natural habitats of America’s waterfowl,” he added. Each child receives a rod and reel, T-shirt, hat, tackle box, a year’s membership to GreenWing and a year’s subscription to Puddler Magazine. According to ride chairman Bernard Vann, the Ducks Unlimited Bike Ride helps pay for all those rods and reels.
Registration for the ride will be from 7:30 to 10 a.m. The ride will be escorted by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and will depart from the Crown Coliseum at 10 a.m. Upon arrival to the USS North Carolina Battleship in Wilmington, riders will be treated to a party at Battleship Park. The full meal will include Bar-B-Q pork, home cooked by David Collier of Collier Farms, and Bar-B-Q chicken, provided by Kinlaw’s Supermarket, as well as a live band to entertain the crowd with Beach music and hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s, according Vann. There will be a break along the route on 421 about 10 miles from Clinton.
Those who participated last year will notice that the date of the ride is much earlier than last year.
“We moved the ride up to June, instead of August, on account of the heat. We’re trying to have it when it’s not quite so hot,” explained Vann. “Last year we had 122 riders, a real good turnout for that time of year.”
The $45 registration fee entitles the biker to receive a T-shirt, door prize drawings and meal, as well as a chance at the Ducks Unlimited 12-gauge Shotgun drawing. Additional riders are $25 and they will also receive a shirt, meal and chance at the door prizes. The T-shirts feature original artwork designed by artist Jimmy Norris. Cars and trucks are welcome to participate in the ride as well.
Ducks Unlimited is a nonprofit organization made up of almost all volunteers. According to Core, there are 132 chapters in N.C. and they raise several million per year.
“It’s one of the only nonprofit organizations in the U.S. where 98 percent of the money actually goes towards preserving wetlands. Only 2 percent is used for administration costs,” said Core. “Out of 132 chapters in the state, Cumberland County was number one in sponsors and participation in 2009. And our program was in the top 100 in the nation — we actually ranked 28 in the U.S.”
Tickets for the Ducks Unlimited Bike Ride can be purchased in advance at several area locations including: Steel Dreams, Chrome Custom Cycles, M&M Leather, Prestige Automotive Service, and Cape Fear Harley Davidson, all in Fayetteville, The Shop in Hope Mills, Holly’s Grill in Autryville, and Jamie Deese in Pembroke. For more information, contact Bernard Vann, the ride chairman, at 624-6252 or M.L. Core at 988-2444.