On Sunday, August 6, 122 bicyclists and SAG teams from all over Wisconsin made their final push to conquer the last milestone of their three-day ride to The Highground. Each route met challenges along the way and rallied together to overcome them to complete the 39th Annual Heroes Ride Bike Tour. And that seems to be the point.
Not unlike other events organized by The Highground, the Heroes Ride is a tribute to Veterans we have lost and to honor and support those who are still with us. As Veterans experience difficulties with their transition from active duty or with challenges due to post-traumatic stress, The Highground rallies around them and offers resources for their growth beyond their service. The Highground would not be able to embrace these challenges without the unwavering support of all the Heroes Ride participants.
Their three-day journey began on August 4, but their journey began months ago as they trained for the ride and pursued sponsor funding for the event. August 6 proved to be a picturesque day for their arrival. As each rider turned the corner from County Rd G onto Ridge Rd, the smiles on their faces said it all. They were so glad they made it another year and to see that their fellow riders made it too. The riders of the Southern Route were the first to arrive. After many hugs and pats on the back, they, in turn, welcomed and cheered for the Eastern Route followed by the Western, Northern and Southwestern Routes.
For every five years of participation, riders are awarded a certificate of achievement. This year, The Highground acknowledged Southern Route participants Beth Berger, Jerome Berger, Lori Hebbe, Scott Church and Shannon Wachuta for their five years of dedication and Joyce Jansen for riding and supporting the Heroes Ride for 35 years. The Highground welcomed Daniel Anderson for his 10th year and Laura Plata-Nelson for her 15th year of riding and supporting the Eastern Route. Kathy Gleisner with the Northern Route has ridden for 25 years and has led the route with her husband, Mike, for the majority of that time. And, Tom Frank joined the Northern route for his 5th year.
As their yearly journey came to a close, what each rider accomplished will carry The Highground into 2024. This fundraiser is The Highground’s longest-running and largest annual event. Having raised $92,000 in 2022, many of the riders shared their determination to “beat that amount” this year. Congratulations! The 39th Annual Heroes Ride Bike Tour raised over $95,000.
The Highground extends its congratulations and gratitude for a job well done to the route leaders: Jerry Simon and Cole Peterson from the Western Route; Curt and Oran Braatz from the Eastern Route; Kathy Heit and Mary Boortz from the Southern Route; Terri Stott from the Southwestern Route; and Kathy and Mike Gleisner from the Northern Route; all the riders and support personnel; and every individual rider supporter.
The Highground staff and all the riders are grateful for all the event and route sponsors: American Legion Auxiliary Post 301; American Legion Post 118;American Legion Post 218; American Legion Post 268; American Legion Post 301; American Legion Post 353; American Legion Post 425; American Legion Trier-Puddy Post #75; Benck Mechanical Inc.; Bernards Northtown Chrysler/Dodge/Ram; Blue Hills Kiwanis; Chambers & Owen, Inc.; Custom Heating & Cooling; Cutz on Kutz; Design Electric of Madison; Fort Healthcare; Gibby’s Lanes; Gross Auto Group; Groundswell; J & L Auto Service; JBC Screenprinting & Embroidery; Krueger Jewelry & Manufacturing, Inc.; Marine Corps League Detachment 552; Mark the Plumber; Marshfield Firefighters Association Local 1021; Marshfield Professional Police Association; Navy Club Ship 75; NEI Electric, Inc.; NextHome Success; Our Lady of Sorrows; Ready Randy’s Sports Bar & Grill; Teamsters Local Union No. 662; The Sports Den; Thomas Technical Services Inc.; TVL Trucking, Inc.; VFW Post #1904; VFW Post 1039; VFW Post 305; VFW Post 6550; VFW Post 8514; VFW Post 9464; W & A Distribution Services; Wipfli.
For information about the 40th Annual Heroes Ride Bike Tour, supporters are invited to keep an eye on the Heroes Ride website at thehighgroundheroesride.com. Information about The Highground, event updates and more are available on The Highground’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheHighgroundVeteransMemorial.
The Highground is located at W7031 Ridge Rd, Neillsville WI 54456. thehighground.us.