4WD Volunteers Host Ride for Developmentally Disabled

Share on Facebook
by Jack Raudy,
Executive Director, California Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs

This was a very special day. Once a year, four-wheel drive volunteers, many from local clubs and some individuals, gather at the off-highway vehicle staging area near the Niagara Rim Trail east of Sonora to participate in the annual "Kids on the Rocks" event.

Kathy Avery, a member of the Sonora-based Mud, Sweat & Gears four-wheel drive club and one of the original founders of the event, explained why Kids on the Rocks is so important to the four-wheel drive community. "Many years ago, several of our club members became involved with this event believing it would have an impact on saving one of our favorite trails," said Avery. "The truth is, we didn't save the trail, but over the years we have all grown and gained from the tremendous experiences we have shared with developmentally disabled guests from throughout this area, and in earlier years, we had many guests from the Modesto area."

This year, the special guests were from the HI-GEAR Watch Resources Program. HI-GEAR stands for "Handicapped Involved in Games, Entertainment, Arts and Recreation."

"Members of Watch are involved in many programs throughout the year to increase their self-esteem, sportsmanship and pride for each other," said Tim Kreger, coordinator of the HI-GEAR Program, "but this particular four wheel drive trip, because of our wonderful volunteers, has become one of their favorite events."

The bus was a few minutes late, but nobody cared. One by one, the guests filed off the bus. Initially, many of them seemed very apprehensive. The volunteers, quick to spot their shyness, walked over and asked if they would like to ride in their rig. Within minutes, the Watch guests were shouting to each other that they were riding in the best Jeep.

In addition to the Mud, Sweat & Gears club, other clubs helping out included 4x4 in Motion, Ready to Run four-wheel drive club and the Hi-Rock Trekkers.

The column of vehicles started up the trail, and it wasn't long before a few of the guests were talking to each other on the Citizen's Band (CB) radio. One young lady was yelling at her friend in the Jeep behind her, "just wait until you see Smokey Bear. I met him last year and now he is one of my best friends."

The rigs climbed up the hills and down through the valleys and finally, it was time for lunch. Suddenly, everybody stopped eating and began running to the center of the campsite. Smokey Bear had arrived, as promised, and he didn't disappoint anyone. He signed autographs, had his picture taken with just about every special guest and finally and sadly, he had to say goodbye.

Kathy Avery said that she and her late husband, Ken Correia and another Mud, Sweat & Gears member, Jack Lyon, who is also deceased, started the Kids on the Rocks program; however, now remarried to Dave Avery, the two of them have plans to make the event bigger and better.

"We thoroughly enjoy our four-wheeling experiences," said Kathy Avery, "but events like Kids on the Rocks, our participation in local parades, and our work with kids in local foster homes affords us the opportunity to give something back to the community. Most of these people would not have the opportunity to travel into the back country without our assistance, and we all love being a part of it."

--Jack Raudy is a regular contributing writer for the BlueRibbon Magazine, and is the executive director for the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs. For questions or comments on this article or related issues, he may be contacted at 8120 36th Avenue, Sacramento, California 95824-2304. Phone: 916-381-8300.

December 17, 2014 12:48 PM

Doing some last minute shopping? Support BRC by using the AmazonSmileProgram when you are shopping online. We are proud to be one of the charities you can choose for a donation from Amazon.com and their AmazonSmile program. It costs you nothing – they donate 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice and it is just one click away! Just start shopping here and first fill in the box for YOUR charity and type in "BlueRibbon Coalition" to choose us! Then start shopping – it’s still the same Amazon.com that you’re used to.

Read more...
December 9, 2014 3:36 PM

Give the gift of recreational access this holiday season. Nothing is more important to that outdoor recreation enthusiast on your holiday gift list than a future of trails, access and having fun! You can make that happen with the gift of a BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) membership - the champions of responsible recreation nationwide who help keep the outdoor fun alive!

Read more...
November 25, 2014 11:00 AM
(BRC Western Representative)
Original 'On Any Sunday' star, Malcolm Smith (C) with Ray Kidd (L) & Don Amador

ON ANY SUNDAY: The Next Chapter‬‬

As somebody who started out riding motorcycles in the 1960s on a push-rod Honda Trail 90, I may not be the best person to offer an unbiased review of On Any Sunday:The Next Chapter but I will try.

Read more...
November 7, 2014 1:58 PM
(Announcement)
November 7, 2014 1:09 PM
(Announcement)
October 15, 2014 4:19 PM
(Press Release)
October 15, 2014 3:54 PM
(Press Release)
(International Snowmobile Manufacturer's Assn.)