Kayla Jones Memorial Ride continues growth

The 11th annual Kayla Jones Memorial Scholarship Ride will be held Saturday at Lefti’s Bar & Grill, 2001 Second Ave. N.

The motorcycle ride, which saw the attendance of about 400 people last year, honors the memory of Kayla Jones, who died in a car accident in 2007 at age 15.

Thanks to the growing annual show of community support, the event has been able to increase its annual scholarships from $500 to $2,000. To date, the annual event has given away $410,000 in college scholarships to Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond High School students.

Organizer Heather Bacon-Farrell, Jones’s mother, said that the event has been able to give away $50,000 for each of the past two years. She said each year has seen consistent growth, raising more money than the last.

But when she started, it was just a way to process the sudden death.

“We were able to turn grief into something outstanding for our community,” Bacon-Farrell said, thanking the community for an abundance of support. “We didn’t know it would get this big. We were flying by the seat of our pants and it kind of took off.”

How long will the event continue?

“As long as the community supports it,” she said. “There are so many sponsors (this year) that I could never list them all.”

Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Lefti’s. Registration fees, all of which will benefit the scholarship giveaways, are $15 for bikers and $10 for riders. All bikes and vehicles will leave at 11 a.m., stopping at Rails in Eagle Grove, Jerry’s Place in Belmond, Flipside in Lu Verne, Roadhouse in Rolfe, Antler’s Pub & Grill in Clare and finishing back at Lefti’s.

There, a free-will donation pork loin dinner will follow, as well as a live and silent auction and giveaways.

This year’s auction items include unique finds like a stainless steel American flag cutout with LED lights, handmade quilts, custom tables made out of reclaimed fence posts, and a two-night Okoboji vacation package.

The annual auction has become a bit of a contest to see who can donate the coolest stuff, the organizer said.

D.J. Jerrad Hanson will also host Jamm to the Music for dancers from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.

A cheerleader at Fort Dodge Senior High, Jones had a passion for dance and was an active youth group member at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

“She has a big heart and was a friend to everyone,” says the ride’s annual poster. “Her amazing personality and beautiful smile will always be remembered.”

“It’s the community that makes this happen,” Bacon-Farrell said. “It takes a tribe to make it work, and they made it work.”


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