Ten years ago Kirsten Sands bid farewell to her brother, who was deployed to Iraq, and coincidentally around the same time heard about a non-profit called Homes for Our Troops building the first home for a disabled veteran in Massachusetts.
Ergo, an idea involving motorcycles was born.
Sands utilized her marketing position with Texas Roadhouse, a national steakhouse restaurant chain, to sponsor a fund-raising motorcycle ride in New Hampshire for Homes for Our Troops. That first year, 300 motorcyclists joined the event and helped raise $25,000.
"A motorcycle ride was the perfect fit. There are no more patriotic men and women on the planet than those who ride motorcycles," Sands said. "My experience is there is no end to the giving nature of those who ride and they support the military wholeheartedly."
Turns out she's right.
On Sunday, the 10th annual Texas Roadhouse Bike Run and Raffle starts at 10 a.m. (EST) in five states - New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, South Carolina and New Jersey. Sands expects at least 1,000 riders in New Hampshire and 500 in the other four - each.
"It's inspiring to see hundreds of bikes and men and women riding for our military and our country," Sands said. "It is the least we can do for those who need us most and have given the most to our country."
Combined, the 10th annual ride is expected to raise $100,000 for Home for Our Troops. In the next five years, the plan is to add five additional states with a goal of 1,000 riders in each run in order to have 10,000 motorcycles riding in unity in 10 states.
To join the 10th annual Texas Roadhouse Bike Run and Raffle, register online or in person for each ride from 8 to 10 a.m. Each ride begins and ends at a Texas Roadhouse in the respective state. See the Homes for Our Troops event page for the locations of each starting and ending point. Each ride includes a breakfast before the ride and a Texas Roadhouse BBQ and concert after the ride at 3 p.m.
"Enjoy a Sunday afternoon with a Texas Roadhouse BBQ and concert with fellow patriotic Americans giving back to our most deserving and most severely disabled soldiers," Sands said. "What could be better than that?"
Other Rides Scheduled This Weekend
Ride to Ohio Memorials August 3: The 5th annual ride to five memorials is free and any donations support the Ohio Fisher Houses and the Valor Home. Staging begins at 9 a.m. at Century Harley-Davidson, 3053 Eastpointe Dr. in Medina, OH.
Rams Ride August 3: The Rams Ride began in 2008 and has raised more than $81,000 for MS research. Register online or in person at 9 a.m. at Southside Harley-Davidson, 4930 Southport Crossing Place in Indianapolis, IN.
Ride 4 Hope August 3: Join Ride 4 Hope to help homeless veterans. Register online or in person at 8 a.m. at the Veterans Training Complex, 1591 Lane Avenue South in Jacksonville, FL. Last bike out at 11 a.m.
Living Without Fear August 3: This 7th annual ride is a fund-raiser for to help stop domestic violence. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and kickstands up at 11 a.m. at the Morning Sun parking lot, 711 W. Pickard St. in Mt. Pleasant, MI.
Memorial Ride for Operation Comfort Warriors August 3: The American Legion Post 500 host this 5th annual ride to raise money for Operation Comfort Warriors. Register online or in person from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at ALP 500, 1926 N. Georgetown Road in Speedway, IN.
Brian's Ride August 4: The Southeastern Massachusetts Motorcyclists' Survivors Fund sponsors the 7th annual Brian's Ride named after a New Bedford firefighter who died in a motorcycle crash. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and kickstands up at 12 p.m. at Raynham Jockey Club, 115 New State Hwy. in Raynham, MA.
Ride for Kids August 4: Ride for Kids benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and features numerous rides throughout the country during the year. This weekend kickstands are up in Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania.