Ride For Tomorrow Helps Bring Communities Together
The second annual motorcycle ride for suicide prevention, Ride for Tomorrow is quickly approaching as riders are set to hit the roads on June 24-25.
Growing from last year’s event, RFT will consist of four different routes, including a 1,500-mile “Bun Burner”, 1,000-mile “SaddleSore”, 500-mile “Boot Shuffler” and 300-mile “KickStarter” — helping to ensure riders of all experience can participate in the cause. Last year’s event even created Montana’s first ever in-state 1,000-mile Iron Butt ride recognized by the Iron Butt Association.
This event brings the dialogue of suicide and suicide prevention to the forefront of riders and non-riders alike. The organizers of Ride for Tomorrow, including veteran- centric non-profit organization Dog Tag Buddies, have organized a Mental Health and Family Fun Fair scheduled for Saturday, June 25, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the parking lot in front of the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Billings. Though specific in its type of participants, Ride for Tomorrow proves to be an event for everyone.
“We wanted to create something that brings the whole community out, not just solely those interested in riding,” stated co-volunteer coordinator and administrative assistant at Dog Tag Buddies, Abigail Harper. “This fair will not only have fun things to do with your friends and family, but it will help show that mental health and mental illness are things that can and should be talked about regularly.” The fair will consist of mental health and social organizations dedicated to the betterment of mental health resources both locally and statewide, as well as food trucks and family fun activities including Steepworld’s mobile climbing wall, OX Mobile Axe Throwing, and The Kindness Rocks Project of Billings. Students from Skyview High School, Billings West High School and Billings Central Catholic High School crafted an installation art piece dedicated to bringing awareness of suicide in their community, which will be present at the event.
Kathy Pfaffinger, English teacher and Key Club advisor at Skyview High School, remarked on behalf of her students who helped create the art installation.
“Each piece of the quilt was made by an individual student who sees value in every other person’s life — and wanted to share that. If one knows that their life holds value in the eyes of another, then maybe they too can see for themselves that they are worthy of living.”
Ride for Tomorrow was created to spark the conversation of suicide throughout Montana, a state that has traditionally ranked in the top five for suicide rates across all demographics in the past 40 years. The event is scheduled to stop in a total of 22 communities in a two-day span.
“This is bigger than I ever thought it could be,” remarked route organizer and vice president of the American Legion Riders Post 4, Gil Floyd. “When I had this idea, I expected maybe five riders to participate. But the riding community really showed up last year and hopefully again this year. It’s awesome to ride for something bigger than yourself sometimes, especially for a cause so important.”
If you are interested in riding, volunteering or donating, visit the official Ride for Tomorrow webpage, https://dogtagbuddies.org/ ride-for-tomorrow.