Bastrop News

Riding a ‘Hog’ for the children

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Gordie Haugen is about to embark on the ride of his life. And readers of this article can “come along” with Gordie on May 2 – either by literally accompanying Gordie for parts of his journey across Texas on his Harley Davidson motorcycle or you may participate ‘in spirit’ by turning out to wish Gordie well on Saturday at “about 7 a.m.” as he takes off for destination Gruene from the Bastrop Shell station at the corner of Texas 95 and Hwy. 21 East (next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken.)

Haugen’s adventure entails visiting “all 45” Harley Davidson dealerships in Texas as he raises funds and awareness for a cause truly dear to his heart – the Cherokee Home for Children, located about 18 miles north of Llano. One of the mottos of the Cherokee Home for Children is “Healing the hearts of children in the heart of Texas.” They also “provide a Christian home environment for children dependent upon others for care,” while promoting their “growth physically, emotionally and educationally.”

Gordie said his heart was touched by the youths of Cherokee Home when he encountered them a few years back during the Johnson City Pig Roast. He next rode up from Johnson City to the Home north of Llano. “I was introduced to every one of those kids and it was all smiles from them,” Gordie said of being touched by the superb job that the Cherokee Home does. He said some of the youths have been “abused, abandoned, physically deformed…or are mentally challenged.”

Gordie will be collecting merchandise and tee-shirts from the dealerships during his challenging ride on his Ultra Classic 107-cubic-inch Harley. The items will be presented and raffled off later to help support the Cherokee Home.

“I’ll be 13 days on the road – minimum,” said Gordie, an energetic 77-year-old man of Norwegian heritage. “And the 13 days doesn’t allow for rain or (mechanical) break-downs, so it could be more.” On Saturday, Gordie will ride from Bastrop to the Harley dealership in Gruene, where he will officially begin his ride. He will then return to Gruene on June 6 to raffle off the t-shirts collected. Gordie is also selling 750 raffle tickets at $100 apiece. The winners of the raffle will be given $25,000 to purchase a motorcycle from the Harley Davidson dealership of his choice – or just ‘take the cash.’ Gordie added, “$50,000 will be raised off the raffle for the kids.”

Gordie is paying for the whole trip out of his pocket – “Every dime collected goes to the kids,” Gordie said. Handmade leather bracelets that are selling for $10 apiece, and that have “Cherokee Home for Children” printed on them, will further support the cause. Gordie paid for the making of those bracelets out of his own pocket and they will be sold by HOG Chapters across the state. Gordie received a strong supportive letter on April 15 from Cherokee Home’s Executive Director Delton R. McGuire, supporting Gordie and also detailing to people how funds raised will be handled. “Proceeds from these activities will be deposited in a Wells Fargo account that was set up and is controlled solely by the comptroller and Executive director of the Cherokee Home for Children,” McGuire wrote.

In a potential “Forrest Gump”-like scenario – the 1994 film where supportive runners fall in behind Tom Hank’s ‘Forrest’ character on his cross-country running marathon – Gordie said he would be thrilled for other cycle riders to ride along for a portion of the journey. “C’mon and ride along,” Gordie declared on a recent afternoon at Brenda’s 1441 bar and grill. (Brenda Bush, who owns that business and Gracie’s in downtown Bastrop, is lending support to Gordie’s cause, he said.)

The first stop from Gruene will be Victoria, and then down to the Rio Grande –area cities and dealerships. “I’m very excited about the trip, I can’t sleep at night, thinking about it,” Gordie said. See Gordie’s Facebook page for more information and to purchase tickets: www.facebook.com/gordiesRide; to learn about the Cherokee Home For Children, see: chc4kids.org. Also, call Gordie at 512-332-1918 for more information.

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