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TMCNet:  Local motorcycle shops support former POWs and MIAs

[October 04, 2012]

Local motorcycle shops support former POWs and MIAs

AMERICUS, Oct 04, 2012 (Americus Times-Recorder - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- It's not just a motorcycle rally for the group of participants that roll into Americus each year for "The Ride Home" event, sponsored by Florida and Georgia chapters of Rolling Thunder; it's about honoring the people who have sacrificed so much for our country.

The annual Ride Home event seeks to pay tribute to former American Prisoners of War and those still Missing in Action. The hundreds of participants involved in this four-day event include former Prisoners of War and their families as well as Rolling Thunder chapters from across the U.S.

For the past four years, locally owned and operated Star Racing has had the privilege of being a sponsor for The Ride Home. The company hosts an Open House where guests get to tour the shop and showroom; buy event T-shirts; enter a raffle for a free dyno session; and enjoy refreshments while they visit with fellow POW/MIA supporters and former POWs.

The Star Racing Open House has become somewhat of a social event for The Ride Home supporters who have come to recognize and remember the company's familiar faces each year.

"We love having all of the Rolling Thunder people at our shop every year. It's such an amazing opportunity to get to visit with some of the former POWs and hear their stories firsthand. We owe them so much for what they've sacrificed for our country; the least we can do is to host an event each year to show our appreciation for them," Star Racing co-owner Jackie Bryce said.

This year, Star Racing combined their involvement with Honda Kawasaki Sea-Doo Can-Am of Americus since both companies wanted to show their support for this dedicated group of motorcycle and military enthusiasts.

Similar to Star Racing's annual Open House, Honda Kawasaki of Americus also wanted to create a fun and inviting environment for The Ride Home participants to enjoy, which is why they hosted a "biker pit stop" throughout the weekend allowing riders to stop by for free drinks and complimentary tire and oil checks.

"During Rolling Thunder weekend in years past, we would usually have a few riders who came by our shop to hang out or look at our new models, but this year we wanted to take that a step further and host a pit stop for them. No matter what brand of motorcycle you ride, there's always a connection between people who love their bikes. We're all 'bike people' and military supporters here, so we wanted to find a way of showing support for this great event that honors both of those ideas," Honda of Americus co-owner Mike Houston said.

Both companies have taken the initiative for the past several years to join The Ride Home group as they line up at Wal-Mart on Friday and Saturday for their motorcade through Americus. Representatives from Star Racing and Honda Kawasaki provide free waters and shade for participants during the usually hot and humid hours at the motorcycle stagings.

For the past two years, Star Racing has also enlisted the help of locally owned Global Graphics to design event T-shirts that are sold to businesses and individuals around town to show support for The Ride Home. After selling out of shirts two years in a row, Star Racing was able to donate more than $2,400 of the proceeds to The Ride Home organization. Honda Kawasaki of Americus has also assisted Star Racing in the sale of The Ride Home event shirts throughout the weeks leading up to the event.

Both companies would like to offer their sincere gratitude to all of The Ride Home participants, former POWs and their families for the great honor of hosting such a great group of individuals. The companies would also like to thank the Americus community for the enormous amount of support they have shown for this annual commemoration.

The Ride Home annual weekend was created by the Chapters of Rolling Thunder. This special weekend seeks to honor all former Prisoners Of War and to remember those still Missing In Action. The goal each year is to invite former POWs and MIA families for a weekend of honor and recognition for the extraordinary courage and valor they have shown.

Star Racing and Honda Kawasaki Sea-Doo Can-Am of Americus are locally owned motorsports companies that have operated in Americus for more than 30 years.

Star Racing, owned by George and Jackie Bryce, manages a Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing team that competes in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. In addition to racing, the company sells a number of parts for Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda and Yamaha models; performs motorcycle service work on these models; offers replacement engines and custom upgrades for Harley-Davidson and other v-twin models; provides machine shop engine services; and operates a professional motorcycle drag racing school.

Honda of Americus, owned by Mike and Teresa Houston, is an official dealer for Honda, Kawasaki, Sea-Doo and Can-Am products including motorcycles, four-wheelers, sport utility vehicles and watercraft. The business has also recently begun to buy and sell used models. Honda of Americus provides complete service work and replacement parts for the brands that they carry. In addition, the company offers a large selection of helmets, life jackets and other apparel.

___ (c)2012 The Americus Times-Recorder (Americus, Ga.) Visit The Americus Times-Recorder (Americus, Ga.) at www.americustimesrecorder.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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