They are the Pi Kappa Phi bicycle riders for Journey of Hope, a cross county bicycle trip to raise money for people with disabilities. Each member of the group has to raise $5,500 to participate in the event that is open to members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity from across the country, said Mike McBride project manager for the Trans America Route.
The overall mission of Journey of Hope is to raise awareness for people with disabilities of all kinds. The group that came through Pratt will have 45 friendship visits to facilities that work with disabled people.
In total, 107 are taking part in this event that has raised about $600,000 this year. The ride features three separate routes and riders cover from 75 to 80 miles a day. The Trans America Route that comes through Pratt has 38 members and will cover a total of 4,300 miles and travel through 31 states. All three groups travel their own routes starting from the west coast and eventually all join up on the Capital steps in Washington D.C. on Aug. 13.
During their stay in Pratt, the riders spent the night in the Municipal Building. Most of the time, they stay in high school gyms with an occasional stopover at a church or YMCA.
The money is used help pay for the trip and to provide supplies and equipment for facilities that support those with disabilities, like Arrowhead West, McBride said.
Because funds are limited, facilities must go through an application process to receive funds. The Pratt Arrowhead West facility has received funds in the past and one item purchased is a standing walker that provides full body support and allows a person to walk under their own power.
The walker was demonstrated to the riders during their visit that included a meal, time to visit, fresh snow cones and a a dunk tank that several riders used.
Each member of the group has their own reason for taking up the challenge.
Josh Luke of Biloxi Miss. and a student at the University of Mississippi, said he had gained a whole new perspective on life and how lucky he is compared to those that are physically and mentally challenged. He said they ride for those who can’t ride.
Michael Muse of Cincinnati, Ohio, who attends the University of Cincinnati, said he learned about the ride through the fraternity. He learned a lot about himself on the trip and found it took mind over matter to keep riding during the first weeks of the trip. There were times he was on the verge of tears but wouldn’t quit so he could ride for the disabled.