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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Fourth ride for Willie a nod to beloved rider, son, friend

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gold Club President Dave Sutherlin, Emergency Food Pantry President Judy Miller, Willie's mother Mary Bartley and Gold Club Vice President Aaron Stout stand outside the Arby's in Greencastle in preparation for the Willie Ride 4 set to start 11 a.m. Sunday. All proceeds for this year's event will go to the pantry. Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
GREENCASTLE -- The G­reencastle Gold Club is finalizing preparations for Willie Ride 4 scheduled for Sunday, this year with proceeds going to the Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry.

The Gold Club began in 2005, and the Willie Ride officially started in 2007 after Willie Bartley passed away.

"We decided to have the Willie Ride every year on Grandparents Day since (Willie's mother) Mary was going to be a grandmother," club president Dave Sutherlin said.

Sutherlin said this year he's been receiving a lot of inquiries about the event and is hoping the increased questioning about the ride means more people are planning to sign up for it.

"We do random rides here and there throughout the season, but this is the big one where we all come together," Sutherlin said.

Banner Graphic/AMANDA JUNK
The ride usually brings between 35 and 45 riders, but is always hoping for more participants, including passengers, Sutherlin said.

He enjoys the ride because of the camaraderie that comes with riding in such a large group of friends.

"Riding in a group and hanging out with friends and doing something for a good cause," Sutherlin said. "That's what it's all about."

As part of the ride's tradition, riders gather and talk at Willie's grave in Belle Union. Sutherlin said the mood at the cemetery has usually been mixed at past rides.

"Some laugh, some cry. It's kind of across the board" he said. "Mary will crack tears, of course."

This year's proceeds recipient, the Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry located at 620 Tennessee St., relies on donations to continue to serve the community, President Judy Miller said.

"We're always needing money and food to donate to support the food pantry. We broke the record last month serving the people, and it takes a lot of money and donations to keep it going," she said.

In 2009, the $900 in proceeds from the ride, which registered 39 riders, went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which also holds their Great Strides fundraising walks all over the country in September.

Sign up for Willie Ride 4 will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Greencastle Arby's restaurant; the ride will start promptly at 11 a.m. The group is expected back at the restaurant around 5 p.m.

Registration is $25 per bike. Gold Club "wr4" decals and T-shirts are available in limited quantities. Judy Miller will also provide a barbecue meal after the ride over by Greencastle High School. Cost of the meal is free to riders; all others are encouraged to bring a $5 donation.

The route includes bikers riding on S.R. 231, 46, and 135, C.R. 252, S.R. 37 and 39, U.S. Hwy. 40, S.R. 240 and back to Arby's.

Food contributions to the Emergency Food Pantry may be made when the pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. If this is not a convenient time to drop off items, call Judy Miller at 653-1356 or the pantry at 301-4431.

Monetary contributions can be dropped at the pantry in the mornings or mailed to P.O. Box 423, Greencastle, IN 46135.

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