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Veteran Groups Impressed with Local Support for Motorcycle, Bull Riding Events
June 27, 2016

C-T Photo / Brittany Tutt

CAPTION: A "Riding for our Veterans" bull riding event was hosted on both Friday and Saturday night at the Litton Ag Center in Chillicothe. More than 1,000 attended the event each night, which raised money for veterans and organizations that assist veterans. Gates opened at 4:30 p.m. and people were able to shop at several booths that were set up, ride a mechanical bull or grab a bite to eat at the concession stand. Mutton Bustin started at 6 p.m. with the main event at 7 p.m.

If one was looking around or in the city of Chillicothe at the right time they would have probably been trying to figure out exactly what was going on. From motorcycles to bull riders, military veterans were in our town on two fundraising missions and they left impressed. It all got underway Friday evening at the new arena at the Litton Center and fairgrounds with an event in its third year tabbed "Riding for Our Veterans." It was a two-evening performance, and it went off without a hitch. The 1,100 to 1,200 present each evening were entertained and enjoyed the evening, according to Larry Oster of Carrollton, president of the "Riding for Our Veterans." Oster, who began this event in honor of his brother who died of cancer in 2014, said they are making plans to return to Chillicothe. "The local support was just great, especially our premier sponsors Barnes-Baker Motors and Brent Wyant; and Larry Brotherton of Brotherton Trucking." There was a good turnout on Saturday morning for a Meet and Greet with the bull riders, and a couple of remote broadcasts from Barnes-Bakers Motors and from the fairgrounds with KMZU and KGOZ/KTTN were held. Oster also said the sponsorships and support from various businesses and individuals was outstanding. He said a new event that he thought of one evening when he couldn't get to sleep before coming to Chillicothe will continue to be a part of the show because it was well-received by the bull riding fans, veterans and those at show each night. "We turned a bull out without a rider in memory of our veterans and called it a "Riderless Ride", and they really loved it as well as our burning U.S.A in the arena." Oster said he wanted to thank the people at the Litton Center and fairgrounds and the City of Chillicothe and all those who turned out for the first-time event for all of their support. The show was under the direction of Dunn Productions "Amped-Up" of Warrensburg. Oster and his late brother who died in 2014 are veterans and were stationed and deployed from the National Guard Armory in Chillicothe.

Another group that drew much attention rolled into Chillicothe at the noon hour Saturday, traveling on U.S. Highway 65 (Washington Street) and getting a police escort to the American Legion Hall. The Legacy Riders began their annual ride from Jefferson City on June 24 and then headed east to St. Peters / St. Charles north to Hannibal where they spent Friday evening before rising for a breakfast and then headed west on U.S. 36 with stops in Macon, Chillicothe, Cameron, St. Joseph and Savannah where they spent Saturday night. On Sunday, June 27, they were on their return trip, and one member of the Chillicothe American Legion Post said those in the Pleasant Grove Church east of Chillicothe around 9:15 a.m. knew the motorcycles were passing by and it occurred just before the Sunday service began. The riders were headed to U.S. 63 and then south to Jackson State Veterans Cemetery and later concluded their busy three days and evenings in Columbia. When the riders left Chillicothe early Saturday afternoon their next mission was to stop in Cameron and visit those at the Veterans Home.

CAPTION: Missouri's American Legion Riders, comprised of about 85 military veterans riding motorcycles across the state, rolled into Chillicothe around noon Saturday as part of their annual fund-raising Legacy Run. The members ate lunch at The American Legion Hall before resuming their travels.

C-T Photo / Brooks Sturm

As the Legacy riders that numbered around 85 roared through town there was a sprinkling of people standing curbside on Washington Street waving small American flags and a group gathered across from the Legion home doing to the same in a welcome. Once parked and inside the American Legion Hall it was time to raise money, visit, drink cold water and get ready for a spaghetti lunch for around 150 persons, including the riders, Legion members, several special guests. A short program followed with some special awards that were handed out by the local American Legion and VFW.

Missouri American Legion Riders had raised about $42,000 before reaching Chillicothe; and while here, they announced near the end of the program that they had added additional contributions of at least $1,500 to $2,000, including donations from the local Post, local members individually and Mayor Haney. The riders said they hope to beat last year's campaign that raised $64,000. Legacy Ride Captain Jim Rosenberg; local Commander Larry Warren, Mayor Haney and Assistant Chief of Police Rick Sampsel coordinated the arrival and departure of the riders to assure safety and minimize the disruption of local traffic flow. Commander Ware said that because of the safety and escort; the work of the local Legionaires; the entire event was declared a huge success.

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