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A sure sign of spring in Fayetteville is the sight of hundreds of motorcycles and convertibles converging on the Airborne and Special Operations Museum for the annual Hogs & Rags Spring Rally. 

For the past 10 years, Gardner Altman and Bobby Bleecker (of Bleecker Chevrolet, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge) and other civic-minded community businesses, organizations and volunteers have joined forces to create one of the community’s best fundraisers. Since its inception, this event has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations that directly benefit the residents of Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. 

The idea came together in 2005, when Altman floated the idea of bringing car and motorcycle enthusiasts together to benefit worthy local causes. The community agreed and has gotten behind the event wholeheartedly. Year after year, the participation and sponsors continue to grow for this Dogwood Festival-sanctioned event.

The event, which starts at the ASOM and ends in Myrtle Beach has continued to grow. Last year, the rally drew motorcycle and car enthusiasts from across the state. With kickstands up and tops down, the participants were quite a sight, with Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson and his first lady, Kim, taking the lead as the Grand Marshals. 

Working to top last year’s extremely successful event, the Hogs & Rags committee has been working hard for months to ensure that the event will continue to grow.  Included in that is the addition of a new event, a pre-registration party the night before the ride, which will bring together local residents and those from across the state who have made their way to Fayetteville to participate in the event. On Friday, April 24, from 7 – 9 p.m., Mac’s Speed Shop on McPherson Church Road will host the Hogs & Rags Welcome Party. The free event is hosted by Mac’s and the Hogs & Rags committee for all event sponsors, participants, riders and their guests. The party is a chance to welcome out-of-town guests, conduct pre-registration, give out T-shirts, sell raffle tickets, play games, give away prizes and listen to great live music provided by the band Lotus Sun. Of course, you can also taste Fayetteville’s hospitality with some cold beverages and Mac’s barbecue. Mosheh Samson,  bar manager at Mac’s Fayetteville and Mac’s general manager Nick Hart are excited about hosting the inaugural welcome event. They have been diligently promoting the rally since early April with banners and posters. 

The next morning it is show time. Saturday, April 25, at 7 a.m.,  registration for the event officially begins. At 9 a.m., it’s kickstands up, with Mayor Nat Robertson again taking the lead. Leaving the 

As the riders cross the Cape Fear River, the smell of biscuits greets the participants as they approach the Rockin-A-Ranch, where they are welcomed with southern hospitality and served a wonderful breakfast. As an added bonus, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will parachute into the ranch, while the West Bladenboro High School Junior ROTC Color Guard presents the colors. As breakfast winds down, door prizes and raffles will close out the morning.parking lot, the ride moves at a quick pace. The ride is escorted by local and state police from Fayetteville to Myrtle Beach.  

From there, it is off to Myrtle Beach. The ride stops briefly at the South Carolina state line for a water break. The next stop is Margaritaville at Broadway at the Beach. Riders will enjoy a great lunch, get their beach groove on and take their chances at a winning the $2,500 reverse raffle and assorted door prizes. 

Participants can elect to return to Fayetteville and rock-out to Warrant and Quite Riot at the Dogwood Festival or spend the afternoon or evening shopping or with their toes in the sand. 

Although everyone has fun at this event, the big winners are the beneficiaries. This year, the proceeds will go to the Green Beret Foundation, Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation and the American Cancer Society. 

“This event benefits the people in this community. One way or the other, we all know people with cancer, children or in those in the military who need a little extra help,”
 said Bleecker.

The Green Beret Foundation provides immediate financial assistance to Special Forces soldiers who are injured in the line of duty, to their families and to the families of fallen soldiers. They also provide funds to support the extended care of an injured Green Beret who requires help while waiting on VA funding. The foundation is focused on the immediate special needs of wounded soldiers and is dedicated to the long-term health of Green Beret families.

The Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides reading and educational materials free to Cumberland Country children from kindergarten to sixth grade. Kidsville News! is a fun, family resource that promotes education, literacy and good character traits in the community’s children. 

For more than 100 years, the American Cancer Society has worked relentlessly to save lives and support those suffering from cancer. Together, with millions of supporters worldwide, the organization helps people in need, funds research and aids people in their fight against cancer.  

Of course, this would not be possible without the help and assistance of dozens of volunteers, event supporters and sponsors and participants of this event to make a difference like Kristie Holtsclaw of Ray Price Motorsports who is the Hogs & Rags premier sponsor. From day one, Holtsclaw and her company have embraced the Fort Bragg/Fayetteville community. 

Join the sponsors and participants of this event to make a difference in our community. Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 25. Come with a full tank of gas and expect lots of food, entertainment, riding, prizes and fellowship. The event is $50 per person. Pre-register at www.hogsandrags.com or call Wendy at 910-818-0458. Learn more about the event www.hogsandrags.com. 



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