Emotional day for participants in annual Ian Harper Memorial Ride
by Will Heath
Jun 16, 2011 | 2315 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The fourth annual Ian Harper Memorial Ride started at the old Wal-Mart parking lot in Leeds, and covered the entire county. The ride benefits the Ian Harper Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships annually to local high school wrestlers.
The fourth annual Ian Harper Memorial Ride started at the old Wal-Mart parking lot in Leeds, and covered the entire county. The ride benefits the Ian Harper Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships annually to local high school wrestlers.
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LEEDS — The Ian Harper Memorial Ride is no easy task for Rhonda Harper.

“We’re just so thankful to everybody for coming,” she said Saturday, fighting back tears. “It’s always a bittersweet day for us.”

The fourth-annual ride drew riders from across the county. They left from the parking lot of the old Wal-Mart and participated in a “Poker Run” style contest.

“It’s a little different,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of mishaps the last few years from everybody trying to keep up. We’re doing a Poker Run this year so people can go at their own pace.”

The winner of the Poker Run was Kimberly Franklin, of Kimberly, Ala. According to Rhonda, she and her family have participated in Ian’s Ride every year. The ride benefits the Ian Harper Memorial Scholarship fund, which provides a scholarship for wrestlers around the county. The fund is named in honor of Ian Harper, a state champion wrestler from Odenville who died in a car accident in 2007.

This year the fund has also made a donation to tornado relief efforts in Shoal Creek Valley, and helped purchase state championship rings for the St. Clair County High School wrestling squad.

Saturday’s event featured a grand prize to the winner with the “best hand,” as well as door-prize giveaways. Rhonda Harper was very thankful to Chick-Fil-A for providing sandwiches.

“They just do so much for our community,” she said.

Donations also came from Coca-Cola, Heart of Dixie Harley Davidson, Subway (Pell City), Chevron on 280 ($25 gas card) on 280 and Lightning Strikes in Trussville.

“This was the first year to do this, and I really appreciate their generosity,” Rhonda said.

Contact Will Heath at wheath@thestclairtimes.com.

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