ROCKINGHAM — The Steel Wheels and Playaz Elite riding clubs of Richmond County will ride together Aug. 1 in a Benefit Ride and Fun Day to assist Deputy Dan McInnis of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, who recently suffered a debilitating stroke.
It all begins at the sheriff’s office with motorcycle ride sign-ins starting at noon and kickstands going up at 1 p.m.
Alan Thames of Steel Wheels said the event is fully supported by the sheriff’s office.
“It’s going to be big,” Thames said. “We will be blue-light escorted by the sheriff’s office in each of the counties we ride through.”
Lancy Little of Playaz Elite said you don’t have to know McInnis personally to know the kind of man he is.
“Everything I’ve heard about him, he’s good,” Little said. “There was a deputy I was talking to, and we just started talking about him and when we were done that guy said, ‘You made me cry.’”
Joey Bostic of Steel Wheels agreed.
“I know of him,” he said. “I don’t know him personally. But I feel like I know him now from the community and the way they’ve responded to this.”
Thames said he’s spoken with Detective Keith Mabe about McInnis and learned a few things about him.
“He loves his family,” Thames said. “He’s married. He rides horses, and he’s never said no to anybody who needed anything from him. The pastor from our club is Rev. Mike Patrick, a retired detective. When he heard about plans to organize this ride he said, ‘We’re going to be right on it.’”
Both riding clubs are well-known throughout the county for their benefit rides to help people in times of need. Playaz Elite was established in 2009, and Steel Wheels began in 2003 under a different name. Steel Wheels has only operated under its new name for three months, but everyone in the riding community knows the club and its members.
Last weekend, Steel Wheels raised nearly $1,700 in a benefit ride to assist the family of local toddler Stetson Deberry, who is in treatment for leukemia.
“That was a big success,” Thames said. “And we’re hoping for more of the same from this next ride. We also want to say thanks to the Wingmen Motorcycle Club. This event will go from noon till dark-30. We’re starting at the sheriff’s department and then it goes into Anson County, then up to Mount Gilead in Montgomery County and back down to the Ellerbe Lions Club.”
Events include performances by the Dark Horse Live Band, hot funnel cakes, a cornhole tournament and a bounce house and fishing tournament for the kids.
Singles ride for $15 and doubles for $20. Donations are welcome.
“We’re going rain or shine,” Bostic said. “There will be plenty of room for people if it rains in cars and other places — we’ll ride one way or another.”
For more information, call 910-434-8634.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.