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 Western Route bicyclists will saddle up for their three-day ride on Friday. Starting in New Richmond at the VFW Post 10818, approximately forty bicyclists with support and gear personnel, including some Veterans, will travel over 163 miles. What brings them together is their love of riding bicycles, their support of our Veterans and their love for The Highground.
Cole Peterson, who took on the role of Route Leader for the Western Route in 2021, attributes his enthusiasm for the annual bike tour to his grandfather, Veteran Jerry Simon. Jerry has ridden for this event since its inception.
Some of the riders can’t do the entire three days, so they will meet up with the others along the way as they bike over the rolling hills, shouldered state roads and quiet county highways through Menomonie and Osseo on their way toward Neillsville. Lunch is provided by a Veteran’s group each day and snacks are donated by local businesses. 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 encourages supporters to welcome the Western Route as they arrive at the park.
Each year, a few of the routes have a friendly competition to see which route can raise the most money. Thanks to many supporters, the Western Route raised almost $24,000 in 2022. Supporting the Western Route this year are: Bernard’s Northtown Chrysler/Dodge/Ram–New Richmond; Lowe Advertising–New Richmond; J & L Auto Service—New Richmond; Gibby’s Lanes–New Richmond; Menck Mechanical Inc.—Somerset; American Legion Post 301–Woodville; American Legion Auxiliary Post 301–Woodville; VFW Post 1039–Menomonie; VFW Post 305–Eau Claire; VFW Post 6550–Strum; VFW Post 8514–Osseo.
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.