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This painting by Paul Roster is among auction items for the Aug. 16 Special Olympics Benefit Ride.

After nearly a year in the planning, the annual benefit ride for your local Special Olympics team is only a few days away. “With this being our fifth year, we wanted to do it up big!” said event coordinator Kris Kramer. The ride will be approximately 130 miles long, starting at the Ron Da Voo with registration at 10 a.m. on Saturday with stops in Traer, Keystone, Walford, Shellsburg, Urbana and two stops in Vinton. Mickey’s Bar in Vinton will be a “wildcard stop”, and the ride will conclude at the American Legion Hall on R Avenue in Vinton. The ride isn’t just for motorcycles, either. “All types of vehicles are welcome,” Kramer said, “load up the family truckster and join us.”

Organizers expect nearly 250 riders this year, and there will be plenty of entertainment along the way. “One of our stops is Turner Hall in Keystone. We should hit there around lunchtime, and coincidentally, the BBQ roundup will be going on there,” Kramer said. At the last stop, there will be walking tacos, a cash bar, and much more. Thanks to Koop’s Automotive Sales and Service, the 80’s band, WAGG will perform from 8 to Midnight.

But before the band starts, there will be a “best bike contest”, and a drawing for dollar raffle tickets for lots of donated prizes. There will also be a live auction by auctioneer Phil Barkdoll. “We’ve got some awesome items donated for the auction this year,” Brian Larkin said. “Local artist Paul Roster painted an amazing picture of a ‘retired’ Harley, and Michael and Dowd donated a 40 inch flat screen television.” “We have some iron signage for Harley Davidson, Hawkeye, Cyclone and UNI fans, and we just got a donation of an autographed football from the Minnesota Vikings football team of 1991!” The auction will start at 7 p.m. at the Legion, and is open to the public for a free will donation.

Following the live auction, at 8 p.m. there will be a drawing for a brand new 2013 Harley Davidson 883 Sportster motorcycle. Only 1,000 tickets were printed and the cost for a chance to win the Harley is $20 per ticket, or six tickets for $100. Tickets will be sold the day of the ride, or while they last, up until 7:15 p.m. Saturday. You can purchase tickets from Kris Kramer or Mike Kramer.

All of the money raised at the event goes directly to benefit Special Olympians from northern Benton County. “We serve student athletes ages 8 to 21 from Vinton-Shellsburg, Center Point-Urbana, and Benton Community,” Head Coach Tammy Zimmerman said. “We changed our name to Vinton-Shellsburg United a couple years ago when we started getting requests from parents at the other schools to have their kids join our team.” “We rely totally on donations, and the money helps to purchase adaptive equipment for the athletes, replace worn out uniforms, pays for all the expenses for the sports we participate in, and helps to pay the expenses at state competitions, ”she said. “There is never a cost for an athlete to participate in Special Olympics because of the generosity of our local community.”

If you’d like more information, or would like to donate, please call Kris Kramer at 319-560-7117 or Brian Larkin at 319-521-2640.

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