3,700 miles, 250 participants, 11 states in 9 days, all to benefit one special charity.
The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America passed through the Uintah Basin this past Sunday during its milestone 25th anniversary ride. Riders began their journey in Seattle, Washington on May 3 and will end in Key Largo, Florida on May 11
"I didn't think we were gonna make it more than 2 years and here we are 25 years later doing the same thing," said former Nascar driver Kyle Petty during a stop in Vernal Sunday afternoon.
Petty said when they started the ride 25 years ago, only a handful of bikes participated and it was simply for fun. Today, the annual ride attracts hundreds of participants and has raised over $18.5 million for charities that serve chronically ill children, including Victory Junction.
Victory Junction was a vision of Petty's son, Adam. When 19 year old Adam was killed in a racing accident, Petty and his family turned Adam's dream into a reality and created Victory Junction, a camp designed specifically for children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. Since it's inception, over 28,000 campers and their families have attended the camp at no charge to the campers.
Hundreds of Vernal residents packed the parking lot at the Sinclair gas station between Naples and Jensen to meet Petty and several other celebrity riders. One onlooker, 65 year old Phil Kearney, said he's followed Nascar and Kyle Petty since the 1980's and this ride has been on his 'bucket list' for a few years.
"I'm a widower and I have a lot of time to burn, and this is very interesting to me," Kearney said.
Kearney had been following Petty and the ride on social media since they left Seattle. He said he was interested to see the logistics of the ride and talk to the participants. Kearney hopes to join the ride on his own bike in the next year or two.
To learn more about the ride or Victory Junction, follow the KPCharityRide on social media, or go to www.kylepettycharityride.com