Cyclists raising money for the disabled stop in Portales

Thomas Garcia

Forty people gathered on the Roosevelt County Courthouse lawn to welcome and support Journey of Hope cyclists as they rode through Portales.

“We are real happy with the turnout today,” said event coordinator, Veda Urisote, Roosevelt County Deputy Clerk. “This group of young men are riding for such a good cause and it is always good to get out and support them.”

The 23 cyclists are taking part in a cross-county ride to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.

Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, a national philanthropy of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

Among those supporting the cyclists were staff and clients from Clovis-based ENMRSH, which provides services and assistance to disabled residents in eastern New Mexico.

“This is the fourth year for ENMRSH to come out and see the cyclists,” said ENMRSH employee Loretta Sena.

“It is great to see all the smiling faces,” said cyclist Josh Klocke of Mason City, Iowa. “Being able to meet and spend time with the people who we are riding to help is amazing.”

Having the chance to help and meet with the people is what the ride is about, Klocke said.

A senior at Iowa State University, Klocke had two older brothers who participated in the Journey of Hope program.

“They gave me great advice about the ride and told me about the people that they met along the way,” Klocke said.

As a part of their visit to Portales, team members put on a puppet show and gave a bicycle safety course.

“I loved the guys coming in on the bicycles,” said Susan Aggers of Clovis. “The puppet show was great.”

The cyclists in Portales on Monday are one of three teams riding 4,000 miles from San Francisco to Washington in 63 days, said Push America spokesman Brian McDonald.

The teams have raised more than $490,000 this year, McDonald said.

“These guys started training and raising donations for this trip last July,” McDonald said.

The riders have been conditioning and preparing for this trip for a year, McDonald said.

“At the beginning it was a bit tough but we worked through the daily grind,” Klocke said.