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The tires were spinning despite the heat as 275 riders came into Big Spring as part of the Cactus and Crude Bike Ride for MS on Saturday. Riders reached their halfway point as they stopped in at the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf campus.
This marks the 24th year of the event making its way through Big Spring and according to Tony Ralf, regional vice president, development, Lone Star/New Mexico of National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it looks to be another record year.
âWe are already surpassing the number of riders we had last year and at this point we are 35 percent ahead in funds raised,â Ralf said. âIt looks like itâs going to be another record-breaking year.â
Last year $244,000 was brought in through donations with 180 riders. Numbers have continued to rise since the inception of the ride which boasted just 25 participants.
The ride begins in Midland and comes into Big Spring with riders moving on to finish the event in Post on Sunday. Each leg of the ride is 75 miles.
âIt is through events like this that the society is able to announce 52 new initiatives like they did last week,â Ralf said. âThe society actually has a five-year objective called N.O.W. (No Opportunity Waisted), which is aimed at raising $250 million by 2015.â
He continued, âWe seem to be making some good headway.â
MS is a neurological disease that affects the spine and the brain stem. There are several symptoms associated with the disease, but the most common and noticeable are the effects on walking ability and loss of sight. There is also a low heat tolerance. According to statistics there are 10,000 people in the United States diagnosed with MS.
âSince the beginning of this ride there has been a lot of progress made. When we started, we didnât have the medicines we do now,â David Ham, owner of Peytonâs Bike in Midland, said. âNow, with all the medications that are available, people with MS can live a somewhat normal life.
âRight now, we are trying to control MS and at this point slow it down. The long-term goal is to find a cure.â
The ride has been making a stop in Big Spring for 24 years and continues to do so because of the hospitable reception provided by the community, according to Ralf.
âThe community is so welcoming and this campus (SWCID) is wonderful to partner with. You couldnât ask for a better partnership,â Ralf said.
Several local companies, church and school groups and other volunteers were on hand Saturday in support of the bike riders. As they rode in they were treated to a luncheon provided by the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department and had the option of staying in a hotel or being housed at the SouthWest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf campus for the night.
Halliburton provided dinner for the riders. Sunday morning, the local Rotary Club was to provide breakfast before the riders headed back out for the final 75-mile stretch to Post.
To find out more about the ride or how to help the MS Society, call Ham at Paytonâs Bikes 432-699-1718 or go online to http://www.nationalmssociety.org/raceMap.aspx. To make a donation, visit bikemstx.org and click on the Cactus and Crude tab.
Contact Staff Writer Amanda Duforat at 263-7331 ext. 234 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org