Approximately 70 American Legion Riders coming up Main Street Friday morning was quite a sight.
Riders receive final instructions before leaving the Webb City American Legion Post parking lot.
Webb City was the launch site for the Missouri American Legion Legacy Run three-day motorcycle tour of southwest Missouri.
The group, with members coming from all over the state, gathered at the Webb City American Legion Hall Friday morning before heading off as a unit down Main Street to Highway 171. They were even joined by some riders from other states.
On the first day of the zig-zag 500-mile route, the group visited American Legion posts throughout the southwest corner, including Carthage and Carl Junction. It ended in Cassville. On Sunday, the ride will end in Springfield.
Richard A. Heigert, of Arnold, Mo., the Legion’s national vice chairman, said rides have been held in other sections of the state during the past seven years that the Missouri American Legion Riders has been established. Now it’s time to focus on southwest Missouri, he said.
The American Legion Legacy Run was established in 2006 to provice scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel killed since Sept. 11, 2001. The goal is to raise $20 million so the scholarship fund will be self-sustaining. Approximately $16 million has been raised so far.
Many of the Missouri riders are planning on going on the much larger (600 cycles) national Legacy Run, which will be Aug. 22 – 26 from Rogers, Ark., to Phoenix, Ariz.
“The purpose is to raise money, but we can have fun, too,” Rick “Top” Wright tells members of his group before they begin their Legacy Run.
Wright, of Bumpus Mills, Tenn., used to be a JROTC instructor at Webb City High School. He started riding later when he was in Sikeston and is now the state director in Tennessee and rides whenever he can.
It’s obvious he loves the social atmosphere of the rides. “I can point in any direction and see a dear friend of mine.”
Sgt. Shannon Crouch, who rides a motorcycle for the Missouri Highway Patrol, goes over fundamentals with riders before they take off.
A guard group rides ahead of the main group to raise awareness and scout for hazards.