In Franklin County, about 100 motorcyclists participated in the annual Christmas in July ride held by ABATE of Pa. Keystone Chapter 56. That group left M&S Harley-Davidson at 1 p.m. and traveled to the picnic grounds at the American Legion Post in St. Thomas, Pa.
The Christmas in July ride supports the Royal Family KIDS camp.
In Fulton County, about 30 motorcycles departed from the McConnellsburg American Legion for an 80-mile trip around the county. Organizers of that ride hoped to raise $800 to $1,000 for the family of a girl dealing with the effects of brain cancer.
“It’s amazing how much money the biker community raises all over,” said Kevin Spencer, who participated in the Fulton County ride.
The family of 8-year-old Liberty Crouse said they are grateful for the motorcycle ride and other support from the community.
“It’s made a big difference. I know that,” said Mike Crouse, Liberty’s father.
The Crouse family has expenses from travel to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center and missed work, he said.
Liberty had surgery June 19, 2009, to remove a brain tumor, then underwent radiation and chemotherapy for 16 months. Now, she’s facing follow-up MRIs, steroids, and vision and hearing tests.
“It makes you learn right away what the most important things are in your life,” Mike Crouse said.
John Rasp organized the Fulton County ride through Sons of the American Legion Post 561. Rasp said he recently met Liberty for the first time.
“She’s just your typical 8-year-old girl running around, but she has (health) issues,” he said.
Crawford Peters of McConnellsburg said Liberty’s father is his son’s baseball coach. Peters joined the ride and said the bikers he knows like to help causes.
“She’s a great kid. They’re a great family, terrific,” Peters said.
The band Steel Rose played for the Christmas in July riders for the first time. Band members said they ride motorcycles and support ABATE, the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education.
“We do a lot of ABATE functions. It depends what cause appeals to us,” drummer Wynn Zimmerman said.
Christmas in July organizer Calvin Wolfe said fundraising in a down economy is a struggle, and the event likely wouldn’t reach its $10,000 goal for the camp that benefits abused and neglected children. Regardless of the amount raised, Wolfe said the donations would help the youths.
“Every penny goes to the kids. The veterans and kids, that’s what our organization is about,” Wolfe said.
Boy Scout Troop 370 leader Mike Rosenberry and seven other adults volunteered at the event with nine boys. The Boy Scouts sold food to benefit their organization.
“It helps children,” Rosenberry said of the motorcyclists’ efforts.
“It’s nice to see people come out and support the kids,” Wolfe said.
Huntingdon County, Pa., resident Brian Wolfe, who is no relation to Calvin Wolfe, said he was participating in Christmas in July for the second time.
“I just like the ride because it’s a good cause,” he said.
Cyril Miller Jr. of Hanover, Pa., said it’s nice to combine music, friends and a cause with Christmas in July.
“Where else can you go that 100 percent of what you donate goes to the cause?” he asked.