The Heroes Ride Eastern Route Starts in Appleton August 4

On Friday, August 4, The Heroes Ride Bike Tour rides for its 39th year in support of The Highground, beginning in five locations throughout the state. The Eastern Route bicyclists will saddle up for their three-day ride on Friday. Starting in Appleton at the corner of Neubert Rd. and N Mayflower Dr., approximately 13 bicyclists with support and gear personnel will travel over 150 miles to support The Highground. What brings them together is their love of riding bicycles, their support of our Veterans and their love of The Highground.

The Eastern Route riders gather at the Vietnam Veterans Tribute “Fragments” during the 38th Annual Heroes Ride Bike Tour.

For 38 years, Vietnam Marine Veteran Jim Braatz has coordinated and participated in The Highground Annual Bike Tour (the Heroes Ride). His son Curt began riding with him at the age of 10 and as an adult has joined his father in coordinating the Eastern Route’s ride plan. 

When asked why he rides, Curt Braatz shares that “People tell me I am crazy for riding 150+ miles on a bicycle. I tell them I can sacrifice my body and energy for three days in memory of those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our everyday freedoms. I ride for my dad and I hope to keep riding until I can’t anymore.”

As the riders ride along lightly traveled country roads, Veteran organizations provide them with meals and shelter for each night. The Eastern Route takes bikers through New London, Plover, Miladore and Marshfield. On Sunday morning, August 7, the route begins the last leg of their journey. They will arrive at The Highground around 10:30am.

Every rider volunteered for this event, taking time off from work, family events and more to show their patriotism. The Highground thanks them and their 2023 route supporters: Marine Corps League Detachment 552; American Legion Trier-Puddy Post 75–Fond du Lac; Navy Club Ship 75–Fond du Lac; VFW Post 1904–Fond du Lac.The Highground encourages its supporters to welcome the Eastern Route as they arrive at the park.

This annual event began in 1985 with Tom Miller riding 1,244 miles around Wisconsin to bring awareness and recognition to Vietnam Veterans and to raise funds to lay the foundation of The Highground. That number represents how many servicemen and women were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

The Heroes Ride, The Highground’s largest and longest running fundraiser, raised over $93,000 in 2022. The dedication of these riders helps the organization to confidently focus on Veterans programming including social programs and restorative retreats that help Veterans and their families overcome the challenging emotions associated with military service.

The Highground is grateful for all returning riders and looks forward to welcoming new riders every year. There is still time to join the ride and help support The Highground’s continuing mission to honor the sacrifices of our Veterans and their families, educate the public about those sacrifices and encourage the healing of the masked wounds of war.

More information including registration options are available 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.