The first annual “Mayors Big Dog Bike Run” got off to a roaring start the morning of April 19 as over 300 bikers made their way from the Glendale Community College parking lot and headed for six west valley towns to earn scholarships for campus vets.
A cruise down the airstrip at Luke Air Force Base was included in the two hour ride that was kicked off by city of Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers. Mayor Weiers welcomed riders, rode in the event, and hosted an after-ride party. The bikers’ journey ended at Westgate Entertainment Plaza where they were treated to barbeque and live music. All proceeds from the $20 entry fees went to the Veterans Spirit of National Service Scholarship Fund.
“When they come back, if they want to go to school and continue their education, they’ll be able to,” said retired navy submarine veteran Jeff Eiler. “Even if they can’t afford it, the money that was raised today was for scholarships for those service members who may be not financially able to attend school, and we want them to be able to do that.”
Eiler spent 15 years in service to his country and is now the commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars District 3. During the event, he carried the flag of Silvestre S. Herrera, Arizona’s first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient during World War II. A special ceremony was held after the riders rode into Westgate to return the flag to its case.
The bike run was a joint effort by GCC president Irene Kovala and city of Glendale mayor Jerry Weiers, said Chris Spicer of the GCC Veteran Service Center.
“It had been in the planning for several months and most of the details of the events were put together by the mayor’s office exclusively,” said Spicer.
The ride began with an escort from GCC at 9:30 am. Riders rode west to their first destination, Luke Air Force Base, where they were allowed to accelerate on the runway. They then made their way to University of Phoenix Stadium where they circled the inside of the arena.
“It was really loud. Very cool,” said Ivy Czudek, a young rider who participated with her dad.
The ride ended at Water-Dance Plaza in Westgate where participants enjoyed barbeque from Shane’s Rib Shack and live music from Kenny Love & The Rockerfellas.
“This was the best event I’ve been to for a long time,” said Derek Czudek. “And it was for a good cause.”