Hundreds of Motorcyclists Honor the Fallen on Memorial Day

On Monday, May 29, 274 motorcyclists and 85 passengers from across Wisconsin and beyond began their day en route toward Neillsville and The Highground as part of the 13th Annual Honor Ride.   

For many, Memorial Day means camping, boating and enjoying their federal holiday sales events. For Honor Ride riders, it’s a day of remembering family, friends, brothers and sisters in arms who lost their lives in service to their country.

The Highground’s Annual Honor Ride hosted two new routes this year, Wausau and Onalaska, and five new route leaders for a picturesque day of riding. All eight routes met at the Neillsville American Legion Post #173 to support The Highground’s efforts to enrich their Veterans Programs for Veterans and their families. The Highground raised just over $14,300 with help from the route leaders, riders, volunteers and sponsors.

Supporters welcome riders to The Highground during the 13th Annual Honor Ride.

Chris Pettis, The Highground Executive Director, gave a moving Memorial Day address. Reflecting on the relevance of the day, he highlighted the service and sacrifice of Army Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr. from Hatfield and Staff Sgt. Todd D. Olson from Loyal whose remarkable stories are just a few of many. The Northwest Region Wisconsin Army National Guard Military Funeral Honor Guard, led by Specialist Chris Walton, with members from the Neillsville Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts provided the ceremonial Honor Guard. In honor of the selected 100 KIA names from the Korean War to present day that were read by volunteer guests, the Honor Guard folded a funeral flag and placed it at the base of the “Fragments” Tribute.

The Highground is tremendously thankful for the volunteer ride organizers and leaders: Bill Flemal and VFW Riders District 7 leading the Appleton/Waupaca/WI Rapids route, Chad Garcia with CVMA leading Reedsburg, Wade Hartung and David Louden leading Eau Claire, Mark Konichek leading Richland Center/Tomah, John Napierala with Bull Falls HOG® Chapter #4667 leading Wausau, Dennis Fick leading Neillsville, Eric Johnson with American Legion Riders District 7 leading Onalaska and Kennith Lanier leading Minocqua. The Neillsville Volunteer Fire Department provided escort for the VFW Riders District 7 as they led the riders through Neillsville and out to The Highground.

For such a successful and reverent day, The Highground owes the following sponsors immense gratitude: American Legion Riders District 7; American Legion Post #73–Neillsville; WWIS FM105.3 | FM99.7; Central WI Broadcasting WCCN | WPKG; Scheels–Eau Claire; VFW Riders District 7; H & S Manufacturing Co., Inc.–Marshfield; Leathernecks Motorcycle Club Road Warriors Chapter; CVMA 45-6; Reel Brothers Harley Davidson–Mauston; Patriot Motorcycle Hearse Co.; Gentleman’s Quarters–Chippewa Falls; JBC Screenprinting & Embroidery–Neillsville; Applebees–Wisconsin Rapids. On behalf of all the riders, The Highground extends a special thank you to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for providing safe traffic control during the parade through Neillsville.

The 14th Annual Memorial Day Honor Ride will be held on Monday, May 27, 2024. Supporters are encouraged to visit the Honor Ride website at thehighgroundhonorride.com and follow The Highground on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHighgroundVeteransMemorial for updates.

The Highground is located at W7031 Ridge Rd, Neillsville WI 54456. thehighground.us.