WELLSBURG - Well over 100 riders turned out Sunday for the fifth-annual Red Knights Ride for a Reason, traveling throughout the Tri-State Area to raise money for two local charities.
More than $8,000 was raised by 140 riders, according to organizers.
The yearly ride began at the Wellsburg Fire Hall, with participants welcomed by Red Knights West Virginia Chapter 6 Secretary Fred Marsh.
Proceeds from the ride benefit the Red Knights' Victims of Fire Fund, which provides money to assist those who have faced losses as a result of a fire, and Coats for Kids, providing winter coats to children who otherwise might not receive one.
In 2012, the Victims of Fire Fund assisted victims of 25 fires, distributing more than $5,000. Those affected by 15 fires already have been helped this year.
Each year, Coats for Kids provides hundreds of children with winter coats. The campaign was started in 1993.
HEADING OUT — Participants set off from the Wellsburg Fire Hall at noon Sunday as part of the fifth-annual Red Knights Ride for a Reason Poker Run. Proceeds from the event benefit the Red Knights’ Victims of Fire Fund and the local Coats for Kids campaign. -- Craig Howell
Seven members from Red Knights West Virginia Chapter 2 were among those in attendance, traveling from Charleston on Saturday.
"We're up here supporting our fellow Red Knights Chapter family," Chapter 2 Vice President Keith Mitchell said.
Mitchell said his club normally doesn't come to the area for events, but Chapter 6 members annually travel to Charleston to attend the Fallen Firefighter Memorial ceremony, and they wanted to show their support for the fundraiser.
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Mitchell said they took the opportunity while traveling to stop and check out a few local attractions, including a visit to the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.
Another visitor taking part in Sunday's ride was Bill Snodgrass, executive secretary of Red Knights International.
Snodgrass explained the Red Knights have 10,000 members in 18 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as many locations in Europe.
"Our organization tries to support our clubs every chance we get," Snodgrass noted.
Marsh noted there would be opportunities for prizes during and after the ride, including a continuous "rolling" 50-50 drawing.
"My goal is to put $1,000 into the Victims of Fire fund and $1,000 into someone's hands today," Marsh said.
The ride included five stops, including the Quaker Steak and Lube at the Highlands in Triadelphia, and concluded at the Wellsburg Fire Hall with dinner and a live performance by the Cross Creek Band
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)