ATV Riders Rally Around a Lost Friend
One of the great things about the ATV community is the willingness of riders to come together, be it to simply ride with friends or rally together to help out a good cause. A great example of this is the Kyle Andrews Memorial Scholarship ATV Poker Run and Fundraiser.
Kyle Andrews loved to spend time riding pretty much anything with a motor. When he was killed in a car accident in 2014, his loved ones wanted to find a way to celebrate his life and decided to host an ATV ride. Andrews was regularly bringing people together for ATV rides on the weekends, so a ride in his honor made perfect sense.
“One of his absolute favorite things to do was to hit the trails,” said Kacey Strange, a friend of Andrews. “He always had a souped up ATV and always managed to find the biggest mud hole to play in. He was a blast to go riding with. His love for riding was like no other.
Kyle Andrews in his UTV
“Our goal with this event was to find a way to honor Kyle’s name. And we couldn’t think of a better way to do that than to organize a ride. It’s what Kyle loved to do, and it’s what we all loved to do with Kyle.”
While it was thought that only a handful of people would take part in the ride, Strange says things escalated quickly.
“This event actually started with a few friends and family members in the backyard trying to pick a date that we could all go riding in honor of Kyle,” says Strange. “Within a few short weeks we realized that this event was much bigger than just a few friends in the backyard….a testament to who Kyle was. Everyone loved Kyle and everyone wanted to be a part of this event. So, our small little ride quickly turned into an organized event, and we have been blown away ever since.”
Riders gather on the beach during the Kyle Ride
The southern Illinois towns of Bridgeport and Lawrenceville came together in force to celebrate Andrews’ life. Far more than a simple ride, people stepped up with donations and now the event awards two academic scholarships to area students. Both a Lawrenceville High School student and a Red Hill High School student will be awarded $1,000 scholarships this year.
“Kyle loved his hometown (Bridgeport and Lawrenceville are two small towns right next to one another, and we all call both home) and we couldn’t think of a better way to keep his name alive than to award two local scholarships in his name every year,” says Strange.
This year the “Kyle Ride” takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Lanterman Park in Bridgeport, Ill.
“We start things off in the morning with registration, we do a balloon release in Kyle’s honor right before the ride takes off, the poker run takes up most of the day/afternoon, and we return that evening to a full blown fundraiser (live auction, dinner, music, etc.)” says Strange. “We have had tremendous success the past two years, and things seem to be gearing up for another great year again this year.”
Balloon release (Photo courtesy Emily Combs Photography)
Even if you’ve never met Andrews, the Kyle Andrews Memorial Scholarship ATV Poker Run and Fundraiser sounds like a pretty awesome way to spend a Saturday if you are anywhere near southern Illinois. And it means a great deal to his family and friends.
“We wanted to keep Kyle’s name alive, and the ride does just that,” says Strange. “It keeps people sharing Kyle stories, and trust me everyone has a Kyle story. He didn’t let anything (weather, broken ATV parts, anything) get in the way of having a good time, and he shared those good times with as many people as he possibly could.
“That’s what makes this event so bitter sweet. Kyle would have loved nothing more than to ride in an event like the Kyle Andrews Memorial Scholarship ATV Poker Run. It’s a fun ride with lots of good people raising money for a great cause. Definitely his type of thing. There’s not a year that goes by that we all don’t wish Kyle was there riding with us. He is missed beyond words!”
For more information, visit the Kyle Andrews Memorial Scholarship ATV Poker Run and Fundraiser Facebook page.
Kyle Andrews 2016 Flyer
I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.
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