This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Mary Kendall Bike FUNd Ride aimed to raise funds to support the programs of the Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth (KYUMH). With over 100 riders participating, it has quickly gained recognition as one of our largest fundraisers. KYUMH is a Christian service agency annually serving over 780 youth from all counties in Kentucky with histories of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or family trauma. They provide professional counseling to young people to help them heal and build a brighter future for themselves. These events help to make the programs that help so many youth and families possible.
The event started in 2006 with a group of friends from Settle Memorial UMC in Owensboro, KY who came together on a late autumn Saturday to ride a 10-mile route. Since we had 13 people in one place, a suggestion was made to “pass the hat” or in this case “the helmet,” and take up some money for a good cause. Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth was selected as the recipient.
In early 2007, the group from Settle UMC decided to make it annual event. Two routes were offered – 20 mile and 40 mile in the fall of 2007.
In 2008, the event included four routes to select – 15K, 30K, 60K, and 100K. The group recognized they had found a good fit for riders based on feedback from the riders – routes for the casual rider to the most experienced riders. The event landed its first Platinum Sponsor, Kittawa Sprangs Dippin’ Sauce, and they have continued to sponsor the event.
In 2009, the event was growing with registrations, and some good-hearted individuals took it upon themselves to challenge members of their congregation – Pedal or Pledge. Pastors Rick Johnson and Kevin Mays along with Jeff Kidd raised nearly $2,800 in pledges. This was in addition to our record number of riders who paid to ride in the event. Sponsorship grew and the event also had our first non-U.S. registrant from Germany.
In 2010, registrations, sponsorships, and donations (pledges) continued to be strong. We are now averaging over 100 riders. For the past three years, riders were given long-sleeved t-shirts and many have been seen being worn in the community, across the state, and even outside the U.S.
Ridership draws heavily from the Owensboro area, including surrounding counties, but it is also picking up strength in other areas including Hart and Warren counties in Kentucky. For the past two years, we have had a rider from Oklahoma as well as riders from Tennessee.
The ride is supported by over 25 volunteers on the day of the ride. Settle Memorial UMC provides many of the volunteers and is dedicated to increasing awareness for the children of Mary Kendall Home and raising money for the children. The event is held the third Saturday in September of each year. Please check www.kyumh.org for more information, including highlights from the 2010 ride.
Terry Horn is the MK Bike FUNd Ride Organizer, and Lauren Rogers is PR/Communications Coordinator, Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children & Youth.