By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Despite an uncontrollable glitch, participants of the first-ever Southern Illinois Peacekeepers Inc. ride and rally were satisfied with the event.
About 50 bikers participated in the event on Saturday, leaving Dale's Harley-Davidson in Mt. Vernon at mid-morning, and arriving shortly after noon at Black Diamond in Marion.
The glitch occurred when Black Diamond officials served the dinner intended for the Peacekeepers to another group on a poker run.
Roger Mulch, president of the Southern Illinois chapter, said next year's ride will originate and end at end at Dale's.
“We had over 175 people involved in the ride and rally today and everybody got fed. We think we will be able to triple the number of participants for next year's ride,” Mulch said.
“This is the best ride I've ever been on,” said Mary Surdyke of Centralia, who recently moved to the Queen City.
“I've been on other rides with Dale's, but we had a police escort and everybody in the other counties were exemplary. It made the ride smooth and it was excellent.”
David Wesselman, who is involved in the Springfield area chapter of Peacekeepers, also participated in the event.
Wesselman had planned his vacation to South Caroline around the event.
“Southern Illinois has beautiful country, and this ride will do nothing but grow. The sheriff's office and Dale's are great people to work with,” he said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the military relief fund and fund scholarships through the Illinois Sheriff's Association.
The Springfield area chapter sponsors four rides per year, and plans on incorporating the Southern Illinois ride into its list of yearly events, according to Wesselman.
Dinner and entertainment, featuring Rollin Country, were provided by Dale's.