Riders with a cause

Posted by:
Jim Oxley (Webmaster)
Monday April 25, 2016 3:51 pm

Three Department of California American Legion Riders will head out May 10 from Oxnard, Calif., and attempt to do something only a handful of other motorcycle enthusiasts have done: travel 1,500 miles in 24 hours on the back of a motorcycle. And in doing so, they’ll also benefit a critical American Legion program.

Mick Sobczak, James Adames and Ronnie Womble will depart Oxnard at 2 a.m. May 10 and spend the next day riding through Arizona and New Mexico before ending up at the Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas. Sobczak, president of the Department of California Legion Riders and a member of J. B. Clark Post 149 in Escondido, said – according to the Iron Butt Association – only 3,673 other individuals throughout the world have traveled that many miles in 24 hours or less.

Sobczak said the idea for the ride came when he was with Adames and Womble, both members of Post 48 in Oxnard, during the 2016 California ALR state convention. The three wanted to do an “Iron Butt” ride of 1,000 miles or more; Sobczak suggested they turn it into a fundraiser for the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation program.

“Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation is one area where people don’t concentrate their donations,” Sobczak said. “They donate to all of the other funds in the Legion. Without our service officers, the Legion can’t do the job it does for veterans. Choosing that as our fundraiser has helped this thing take off like a wildfire.”

After Sobczak gave a presentation about the ride to the state convention, Rider delegates there passed the hat and raised $2,300. Since then, donations from chapters throughout the department have raised that total to more than $15,000. The goal is $20,000.

A chase vehicle will follow the three Riders and will be manned by California District 10 Legionnaire Monique Clemons, a lieutenant colonel in the Navy Reserve who also doubles as an EMT and flight nurse, and Ray Ficek, vice president of Riders Chapter 434 in Chula Vista.

And along the way, the group will be met and escorted by Riders chapters in every state. “What they’re going to be doing to keep us alert and awake is priceless,” Sobczak said. “The brotherhood and sisterhood they’re showing, dropping everything they’re doing to support us, is incredible. They don’t know us, but they know the cause.”


Donates should be sent to:

American Legion Riders Department of California
c/o: Don Christolear (ALR DOC Finance Officer) 
1501 Quintana Rd. #10
Morro Bay, CA 93442