The deafening, earth-shaking sound of about 200 motorcycles riding through the region last Saturday was music to the ears of those familiar with a popular charity event.
The 10th-annual Ride for Rescuers “In Memory of Layne Creed,” was held Sept. 17 to benefit the Children’s Center of Surry and Yadkin.
“It’s a ground pounding, just listening to them all, it’s an emotional thing,” said Creed’s brother-in-law Ken Ross, of Dobson, serving as family spokesperson.
Ross said the circumstances surrounding Creed’s death prompted the family to organize the first event.
In 2006, the family had been vacationing at Lake Norman. Creed and a friend jumped in the water off a boat parked in front of a lake house.
While the friend emerged, “We never saw Layne again,” Ross recalled.
“He was just hard working, the healthiest guy on the boat,” making his disappearance even more confounding to those that knew Creed, who was 46 years old and enjoyed outdoor activities such as riding motorcycles, skiing, boating, horses and four-wheeling.
Rescue workers were unable to immediately recover Creed’s body as the one sonar device shared by the lake’s three counties was in use with another incident.
“He was literally in the front yard in the lake,” Ross said. “We had to sit and look at this orange buoy for three days.”
The family was devastated but moved to organize the inaugural Ride for Rescuers, held to raise funds so the other counties on the lake could purchase sonar devices.
“We can’t let this happen to another family,” Ross said.
That first year the ride brought in enough for rescuers to purchase an additional device – which Ross estimated cost about $10,000 to $12,000 – and has continued to be successful throughout the years.
While the proceeds were donated to rescue squads, police and fire departments for the first five or so years, the focus was shifted several years ago to the local home for children.
“They’re rescuers too,” Ross said of the organization. “They rescue children.”
Ride fueled by camaraderie
Ross said the event’s success had a lot to do with Creed’s personality.
“Layne was like the patriarch for the family,” he said. “Truly the big brother. Everybody took to him.”
Bikers came out in droves for the event Saturday, as they have for 10 years, and as of Wednesday, orders for T-shirts were still pouring in.
“Bikers have always been generous with their time and their money,” said Ross, describing the ride as getting together with “a couple hundred of your best friends. Even if you’ve never met some of them, everybody’s friends that day.”
The poker run route started Saturday at 13 Bones restaurant at Mount Airy.
“The parking lot was bulging,” said Ross.
The group traveled to 222 Public House in Elkin, with a full police escort, down to the Yadkinville Moose Lodge, up to Putters in Dobson, and finished at the Elks Lodge in Mount Airy.
Participants stopped for about an hour at each location, picking up a random playing card at each, and winning door prizes.
The rider with the best poker hands at the end of the day won a cash prize.
“Most of those people end up donating it right back,” Ross said.
A concert by Surry County musician Tim Elliot kicked off the event Friday night at the Elks Lodge and was also well attended.
Ross thanked Elliot, the local law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel and countless donations from businesses and individuals.
“We’ve just been blessed with good friends and the support of the community,” he said.
The last ride
The 2016 event will be the last Ride for Rescuers, Ross said.
“This year is the 10th year. We thought it would be a good time to end it,” he said, much to the disappointment of those who enjoy the event.
“It’s been a long, awesome deal,” said Ross. “We got pleasure and peace of mind to do something good for the community. There’s no better way to honor somebody. We just think it’s time.”
However, Ross said just because it was the last ride, “it does not mean it’s over with,” that Elliot may carry the torch another year.
“He said it may be the last ride but it’s not the last concert. He gave a hint that he may continue it as a music event,” said Ross.
If so, that may please plenty of folks.
“Everyone’s lost someone they’re riding for,” Ross said. “A lot of people get peace from it.”
Ride T-shirts are still available and can be ordered by calling 336-409-8407 or 276-733-8173.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.