Motorcyclists Raise More than $30K for March of Dimes

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BOONVILLE - Organizers said around 250 motorcyclists from around mid-Missouri turned out for the annual Bikers for Babies ride Saturday.

Leslie Tomlinson, community director for the March of Dimes' Missouri Central Division, said the ride raises money to help support research and programs involving birth defects and premature births. She said about the same number of bikers took part as last year, raising about $30,000. Tomlinson said fund raising related to the ride continues through December, so final figures aren't available. Bikers had three routes to choose from, starting in Sedalia, Jefferson City and Columbia. All three routes ended at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville.

Bikers young and old said they enjoyed riding for a good cause. Dan Dierks, who is part of a riding club that frequents charity rides, said he likes being able to give back to communities.

His wife, Sandy, said "Everybody has the wrong opinion of bikers. They think it's all about drinking and partying," adding that she and Dan approach charity rides the same way they treat other members of their family.

"When one of us is in trouble, everyone else stops to help."

For some bikers, the ride is personal. Wil Keen said one of his friends just had a son who was born five weeks premature. Keen said he had already planned on attending the ride, but the child's early birth added a new dimension to the event. He said his friend's new baby is doing fine and is expected to come home from the hospital in a day or two.