The Jennifer Short Memorial Scholarship Bike/Car Ride will continue with a new organizer at the helm.
The ride, which funds a scholarship for Bassett High School students in Jennifer Short’s memory, will be organized by Ruth Ann Shields, with the Fraternal Order of Eagles handling much of the financial side.
Ray Reynolds, who has organized the event for 20 years, announced before this year’s ride that he intended to step down due to health issues. He organized the event after the still unsolved murders of his neighbors, Michael and Mary Short, and their 9-year-old daughter Jennifer. The ride acts as a memorial of their lives and a way to raise awareness about the case, as well as raise funds for the Jennifer Short Memorial Scholarship.
Shields, a member of the Eagles Club, didn’t want to see the ride end.
“This was going to be his (Reynolds) last year doing it due to his health and everything going on, and I know it goes towards a good cause. It helps the children in our local area with schooling. I thought it was a really good cause and something that needed to be kept going,” Shields said.
Shields and the Eagles Club are already looking at options to raise more funds for the scholarship and to grow the event.
“We’ve got some ideas that we’re working on right now. We’re going to do a little bit of a longer ride. We’ve got some ideas going on,” she said, adding new organizers also are exploring the idea of adding more fundraising events on ride day, including an auction.
The Eagles Club will be helping to raise money for the memorial ride and handle the finances, and as a result, also discussed hosting related fundraisers such as a bake sale.
“This way, come time for the ride, that’s more money that we’ll have towards that time that we can say, ‘This is something that we’ve worked towards throughout the year to go towards this,’” Shields said.
Reynolds said that this changing of the guard will provide opportunities for more involvement, and he is excited at the future prospects.
“I think it’ll be even bigger,” he said. “You’ve got so many people involved. Any time you’ve got bikers that take over a bike ride, you’re going to get more participation.”
Reynolds said he offered his support to the new organizers, and added that he is happy to help any way that he can.