The Third Annual Tony "Tank" Wiley Memorial Ride to raise funds in support of the Clay County Humane Society is scheduled for Saturday, and expectations are high that this one will be the largest yet.
"We had a great response from local individuals and business sponsors," Marc Wiley, event organizer, said. "We have 65 sponsors on the back of the t-shirts this year. We are really grateful for all their help."
The memorial ride is a way for Tank's friends and family members to keep a piece of a "big-hearted guy" alive in their hearts.
"If you knew Tank, you knew he loved animals," Wiley said about his brother who died in a traffic accident in 1994. "We're keeping his spirit, his love of animals alive through this ride."
Humane Society Board President Bill Bell, who has known the Wiley family for many years, says the memorial ride is quickly becoming one of the largest fundraisers for the shelter.
"This ride helps so many animals in so many ways," Bell said about the food and medication that will be purchased because of the funds donated from the ride. "We appreciate everything that this wonderful family does on behalf of the shelter and to help animals in need."
Hosted this year by Oak Ridge Grille By The Green, people can register for the ride between 10 a.m. to just before noon Saturday, Sept. 8, at a cost of $10 per person. Riders are scheduled to leave at noon.
"We invite anyone interested in going on the ride, whether they have a bike or not, to come join us," Wiley said. "Who ever wants to come along, can, but we urge them to register so that they will be eligible for the raffles and other prizes."
Riding Tank's reconditioned motorcycle, Marc will take the lead during the scenic ride that will take them past Tank's gravesite at Calcutta Cemetery, up to Raccoon Lake, over to Rockville, down through Sandcut and back to Brazil to pick up the Clay County Humane Society Van for a police escort back to The Gooseneck. Riders will return to Oak Ridge after a brief break.
Wiley said he changes the route every so often so riders can enjoy the local scenery.
Food, bike awards, raffle drawings and door prizes will be available after the ride, but Wiley said there will be an additional treat this year for the general public to enjoy after the ride.
"The band Chigger will start playing at 7 p.m.," Wiley said about other fundraising activities planned during the evening at Oak Ridge.
"We hope that the public will come out and help support the shelter while enjoying the entertainment."