Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty began his 25th annual Charity Ride Across America on Friday, May 3 in Seattle and concludes at Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo this weekend, Saturday, May 11 at 4 p.m.
Petty and his group will ride motorcycles across the country totaling nearly 3,700 miles to help raise money for Victory Junction and other children’s charities with over $18 million raised since it started in 1995.
“This is our 25th year and the importance of why we wanted to do it the first year was we just wanted to ride motorcycles across the county and it has evolved into the charity aspect of it,” Petty said. “When my oldest son Adam was killed in a racing accident in 2000, we go to a camp in North Carolina called Victory Junction and we’ve seen over 30,000 kids with chronic and life-threatening illnesses free of charge.”
Petty, who appeared in over 800 NASCAR races in his career with eight wins from 1979-2008, has enjoyed the charity rides over the years.
“It’s crazy, that first year we just wanted to make it across the county and now we want to raise as much money as we can,” Petty said. “We’ll have campers come out and meet us along the way and it is incredibly fulfilling. To think all we’re doing is riding motorcycles. We’re not solving the world’s problems or curing any illness, we’re just riding motorcycles, but in the end we ride motorcycles to give back to the communities. We’ve seen kids from all 50 states and seven foreign countries so every community we go through is the possibility of a child who can benefit from camp. It has been incredibly fulfilling through the years to meet so many people along the way.”
The final day of the trip is scheduled to begin in Tampa with stops in Palmetto and Naples before arriving in Key Largo.
“I’ve been there a million times and it is absolutely the perfect community for us to end in,” Petty said. “When I come through and when you follow what’s going on in Key Largo, it is a community and I think that’s what people lose sight in sometimes in a big city or disjointed area with ‘I live in this neighborhood and you live in that neighborhood, but we’re not connected.’ But once you hit the Keys, the Keys are totally connected and Key Largo is an important part of that. The people we have dealt with and talked to are so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this. We’re excited to bring it to Key Largo and we’re excited to bring it to a community who cares so much about other people.”
Donations are accepted by visiting kylepettycharityride.com, calling 704-714-4545, or sending a check to Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc. at 125 Floyd Smith Drive, Suite 45, Charlotte, NC 28262