Revving their engines and cruising for a cause; the Dream Ride Experience took over the grounds of the Farmington Club this weekend. Now in its fourteenth year, this year’s Dream Ride was the biggest yet, with riders and visiting Special Olympics athletes from as far away as Canada and Australia, all to benefit Special Olympics Connecticut.
“It's an experience that's hard to put into words,” said Mike Bozzuto of Bozzuto’s, Inc., the presenting sponsor of Dream Ride. “It's the athletes, it's their families, it's the connection that happens with the crowd, there's an energy here that's unbelievable. You have to see it to believe it.”
The weekend festivities stepped off Friday night, and kicked into high gear on Saturday with a car cruise and a special concert by the rising country act Lonestar. By Sunday, ten thousand motorcycle riders from twelve different states all converged in Farmington for the main event, a police escorted ride through the Farmington Valley.
The mission of Special Olympics is a personal cause for many participants, like Larry Jedrey, a police officer from Everett, Massachusetts with sixteen years on the force. For the veteran officer who’s seen his share of tough stuff in the world, Dream Ride represents hope and inspiration – like the kind he discovered when he met 56-year-old Special Olympics Massachusetts athlete Bobby McNeil last year.
“I met Bobby, and he just got into my soul,” said Jedrey. “So I wanted to dedicate my ride this year to Bobby.”
Jedrey joined the Dream Ride Rally and rode his Victory motorcycle from West Palm Beach to Connecticut – a trip that took seven days – carrying a special medal the whole way. When he arrived in Connecticut on Friday, a surprise was waiting.
“I was exhausted, I got off my bike, and someone said ‘Larry, look who’s here,’ and it was Bobby,” Jedrey recalled, his eyes filling with tears. “I got to give him his medal…it’s amazing.”
According to Bozzuto, it’s just one of countless stories of inspiration that come out of Dream Ride every year.
“You come here and you see an athlete smile and it's worth it all, what you're doing,” said Bozzuto. “A lot of people tell me this is one event where no matter how much you give, you get more from it.”
Dream Ride wraps up Sunday night. To learn more about Special Olympics Connecticut visit http://www.soct.org.