The Heroes Ride Northern Route Starts in Hayward 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 “Awesome Northern Route” bicyclists will saddle up for their three-day ride on Friday morning. Starting in Hayward, over fifty bicyclists along with support and gear personnel, including Veterans, will travel over 160 total miles. What brings them together is their love of riding bicycles, their support of our Veterans and their love for The Highground.

Everyone rides for a reason and riding has changed many lives. When asked why they ride in this annual event, Kathy and Mike Gleisner shared that “The ride gives Veterans a chance to share their stories and enjoy a great trip across Northern Wisconsin. Our riders are like a family reuniting once a year in memory of loved ones lost. For us it’s never been about the fundraising, but about the camaraderie.” Some of the “Awesome Northern Route” riders have participated in this event for over 30 years.

A few of the Northern riders will begin their trip on Wednesday, August 2 from the Spencer Kwik Trip and head to Hayward to prepare for the ride. At 8:30am on August 4, the entire Northern route will begin their journey at the Veterans Center off Highway 27. On Sunday morning, August 6, 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 encourages its supporters to welcome the Northern Route as they arrive at the park.  

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

Each year, a few of the routes have a friendly competition to see which route can raise the most money. Thanks to many of their supporters, the Northern Route raised over $29,000 in 2022. They receive support, tasty meals and a safe place to lay their heads for the night from these community and Veteran organizations along their route: The Sports Den–Marshfield; Teamsters Local Union No. 662–Eau Claire; NEI Electric, Inc.–Eau Claire; American Legion Post 218–Hayward; American Legion Post 425–Exeland; Our Lady of Sorrows–Ladysmith; American Legion Post 268–Bruce; Blue Hills Kiwanis of Bruce; American Legion Post 353–Holcombe; VFW Post 9464–Holcombe; American Legion Post 118–Thorp; Marshfield Professional Police Association; Marshfield Firefighters Association Local 1021; Gross Auto Group–Neillsville; and Custom Heating & Cooling–Neillsville.  

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.