WOODLAND PARK — Hundreds of motorcyclists gathered Saturday at the Woodland Park High School to show their support for the brave men and women who serve our country.
Every year, they ride in the POW MIA Recognition Ride en route to the Salute to American Veterans Rally. While The Cripple Creek City Council canceled the large rally, the ride continued as scheduled.
"The question was raised by the veterans, is there any reason why we can't do the POW ride. We went to the county, law enforcement, city of Woodland Park, organizations that put it together," said Jim Wear, founder, and organizer of the 33rd Annual POW MIA Recognition Ride.
Wear says the rally was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.
"In particular, they were concerned about the governor closing the casinos down if there was an uptick with the virus," said Wear.
He says in order to hold the event, they had to get a permit from the county health department which included making sure motorcycles were six feet apart, hand sanitizer stations, and no more than 250 in any given area. They also had to cancel some activities.
"There are no vendors here, no beer garden, no bands. All of those things that would be a part of a rally aren't here," said Wear.
He says he didn't want to defy Cripple Creek, but it was important to show support for veterans and troops, especially with everything going on in the world right now. Those who participated shared the same sentiment.
"We are here to support them and do everything we can. Just do our part," said David Bralish.
"Veterans make so many sacrifices and they live all over the world in remote places in an extended amount of times," said Tom Mcfeeteres.
Wear says he respects the community and some of the concerns they've had with the event, but he also respects people's freedom of choice. He says the riders that came out felt comfortable being there or they wouldn't be there.
Money raised from the ride goes to veterans in El Paso and Teller Counties.