Saturday, 19 February, 2005

Second Annual Gunny Ski Memorial Bicycle Ride

I've mentioned before that I make an annual pilgrimmage to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas for the Alumni Reunion. This year's event is April 14 through 17, and it will mark the tenth year in a row for me. It also marks 25 years since I graduated from high school and 40 years since MMA opened. We're getting out the word in an attempt to have as many alumni as possible attend.

Two years ago I came up with the crazy idea of riding my bike from my home in Round Rock to the school for the reunion. I pondered it for a few months and then set up a training schedule. Last year my friend Craig and I left my house at 6:00 on Tuesday morning and arrived in Harlingen late on Thursday afternoon after 342 miles of pedaling. View my trip report for the details.

My original intent for the ride was simple: I just wanted to prove to myself that I had the discipline to create and execute the training schedule, and then complete the ride. Craig got the idea of making it a fundraiser, and with almost no marketing effort we were able to raise over $5,000 for an endowed scholarship. This year we want to do better.

On April 12 of this year, Craig, Debra, I, and possibly one or two others will leave Round Rock early in the morning on bicycles, headed for Harlingen. The first day's ride to Kenedy is 130 miles. Ben Trimmer, who graduated from MMA in 1990, will join us in Kenedy for the final two days of the ride. The second day is approximately 105 miles from Kenedy to Kingsville, where we will probably pick up a few other participants--including a few cadets from the school--for the final 100 miles to Harlingen on Thursday.

We are soliciting donations--sponsorships--for the ride in any amount.  We are paying all costs of the ride (lodging, meals, return transportation, etc.) out of our own pockets.  100% of all donations received will go to the Gunnery Sergeant Larry Wisnoski Memorial Scholarship Fund to endow a permanent scholarship fund that will pay the tuition for a young man whose parents are unable to afford the cost of the school.

Ben Trimmer has set up an eBay sale item where you can "purchase" a donation in any dollar amount. If you would like to purchase more than what is available there, please contact Ben via his eBay link, or drop me an email and I'll point you in the right place. You can also go to the MMA Web site to learn more about the school or to make a donation directly.  If you do choose to donate directly to the school, please remember to write "Gunny Ski Memorial Scholarship Fund" on the check so that the money will be used for that purpose.

As was the case last year, I will post an update here after we complete the ride.