"Dawgs" might just be the new moniker for motorcycles after this weekend when bikers take to the streets of Bloomfield, CT to support the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation.

Fidelco, New England's only guide dog school, hosts its 3rd annual Ride for Independence on Sunday and organizers expect as many as 500 motorcyclists to saddle up. The fund-raising ride directly supports the organization's mission of placing trained German Shepherd Guide Dogs with men and women who are blind. Fidelco places many dogs with military veterans and all placements come at no-charge to the recipient.

"We serve people who are blind from all walks of life and we're especially honored to serve our nation's blinded military heroes who have sacrificed so much on our behalf," said Heidi Voight, Director of Communication with Fidelco.

Eliot Russman, CEO of Fidelco and avid Harley rider, founded Ride for Independence. A strong biker community exists in Connecticut and many employees at Fidelco ride, too. Voight said the cause really hits home with a lot of riders, especially veterans. Each Fidelco dog costs $45,000 and takes two years to train for service. The recipient then receives 24/7 support for the life of the dog and annual follow-up visits. Fidelco receives no government funding.

"When you donate and participate in the ride, you can feel good knowing that your support is making an immediate, measurable and meaningful difference in the life of someone who is blind," Voight said. "Just by hopping on your bike and indulging your passion to ride, you are changing someone's life for the better and having a really great time while you're at it!"

Ride for Independence registration costs $40 (passenger included) and begins at 9 a.m. Sunday at Fidelco, 103 Vision Way in Bloomfield, CT. Pre-registration for $30 is also available but ends Wednesday. Kickstands are up at noon for the approximately 90 minute ride that ends back at Fidelco.

Other Rides Scheduled this Weekend

BMW MOA International Rally July 18-21: The 41st annual BMW Motorcycle Owners of America Rally is a three-day affair at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE in Salem, OR.

ALR Annual Memorial Ride July 20: American Legion Post 1776 hosts its annual Fallen Heroes Memorial Ride to honor those who sacrificed for the country. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and kickstands up at 11 a.m. Saturday at Post 1776 American Legion, 14521 Granada Dr. in Apple Valley, MN.

Mohican Valley Poker Run July 20: The Buckhaven Learning Center hosts this fund-raising ride that also benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m. and the first bike out at 11:30 a.m. at Mike's Beer Bucket, 506 S. Market St in Danville, OH.

Thomas D. Avery Road Hawg Benefit Ride July 20: This 4th annual ride benefits a scholarship fund for students planning to further education in criminal justice or law enforcement. Register by mail. Ride starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Vern's, 17367 State Highway 23 in Davenport, NY.

Bikers for Bikers Poker Run July 20: The inaugural Bikers for Bikers Poker Run benefits the Bikers for Bikers Foundation a non-profit for injured bikers and needy children. Pre-register or in person at the Rainbow Saloon, 6045 S. 1900 W in Roy, UT. Kickstands up at 10:30 a.m.

Susie's Place Charity Ride July 20: The American Legion hosts the 4th annual charity ride for Susie's Place, a non-profit advocacy center for children. Registration is from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday at Susie's Place, 7508 Beechwood Centre Rd. in Avon, IN. Kickstands up at 10:30 a.m.

Ruckus Run July 20: The 6th annual Ruckus Run benefits Born Again Pit Bull Rescue. Registration begins at 8 a.m. last bike out at 9 a.m. at Bob Lanphere's, 10380 SW Cascade Blvd. in Tigard, OR.

Puyallup Lions Charity Poker Ride July 20: This 8th annual ride benefits the Puyallup Lions Foundation. Pre-registration ended so register in person at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Old Cannery, 13608 A Valley Ave. E. in Sumner, WA. Ride starts at 10 a.m.

Scholarship Poker Ride July 20: The Iowa Lakes Community College Foundation hosts the 11th annual Scholarship Poker Ride that funds scholarships for Iowa Lakes students. Register online or in person starting at 9 a.m. at the Iowa Lakes Campus in Algona, 2111 Highway 169 North in Algona, IA.

Ride for Kids July 21: 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 Minnesota, Chicago, and Utica, NY.