Star Staff Reports
MEMPHIS — Several grassroots-‐based events are planned for July to help raise awareness for and to support the West Tennessee Veterans Home project to include two motorcycle dice Freedom Runs on July 3 and 4 as part of the Riders and Rockabilly Rally & Blues Hog BBQ and Music Festival in Jackson and another run planned during Memphis Bike Fest July 22- 26.
There are more than 71,000 veterans living in Fayette, Shelby and Tipton Counties, the largest concentration in the state of Tennessee, yet the nearest rehabilitation and long-‐term care facility for veterans is in Humboldt, Tenn. more than 100 miles away.
Holly Swogger, President of WTVH stressed the importance of events like these in raising the funding needed for the construction of this facility, “In order for us to receive 65% of our total funding from the federal government, state and local sources must provide 35 percent by July 2016.” Swogger continued, “With commitments by the Shelby County Government and the Plough Foundation, we must raise $11.5 million, and events like these not only help in our fundraising, but they help us spread our message to a wider audience.”
Along with several dice runs benefiting the WTVH and other local charities, the Riders and Rockabilly Rally & Blues Hog BBQ and Music Festival July 3 – 5 at the Jackson Fairgrounds Park will includes three days of live music, a Kansas City Barbeque Society sanctioned professional barbeque competition, a classic car show and a 5k race. In addition to the two dice runs benefitting the WTVH, three additional runs starting from Jackson will benefit several other charities. Performances include groups such as Saving Abel, Little Boys Blue, LOLO, Bryan Moffitt, Full Devil Jacket and many others.
The two Freedom Runs will originate from Memphis and will lead riders to featured locations in west Tennessee such as the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville and the new Samuel T. Bryant Distillery near Jackson, ending in Jackson at the festival. The dice run on Friday, July 3 will start from Robillio’s Sidecar Café on Whitten Road and the July 4 run will begin at TJ Mulligan’s on N. Houston Levee Road. More details can be found at www.ridersandrockabilly.com or at Facebook.com/RockabillyRally.
“With thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts who are veterans and thousands more who also enjoy traveling the open roads in west Tennessee and beyond, we want to offer a fun opportunity for them to enjoy scenic destinations between Memphis and Jackson,” said Jenci Spradlin, executive director of Riders and Rockabilly LLC. “We are honored to partner with this dedicated group of volunteers to support such a worthwhile cause.”