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Local Harley riders to hit streets again for muscular-dystrophy benefit

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David Brazy
June 15, 2011
— Calvin "Cal" Niemeier and his wife, Laura, for 16 years have ridden side-by-side to lead the local Harley Owners Group fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Cal flew the American flag and Laura flew the Wisconsin state flag.


They'll lead the pack again Saturday for the 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Tub Run, but this year will be different.


Cal was diagnosed last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He is the third member of his family to be diagnosed with it.


He can't ride his motorcycle, so they traded in their bikes for a three-wheeled motorcycle they can ride together. The two will ride together out front Saturday afternoon flying the flags.


They won't ride alone.


This will be the first year participants can become pledge riders to help raise money for the MDA, fundraising coordinator Chelsey Emmett said.


Any rider who raises more than $100 will have their $25 registration fee waved. Riders who raise more than $1,000 will become a member of "Cal's Pals" and get to ride up front with the Niemeiers.


Dave Alwin, head of the Harley riders event committee, said Cal's Pals will get a replica of Cal's signature red baseball cap.


"You won't see Cal without his red hat on," Alwin said. "We asked him if he would like to help us promote the ride, and he said, ‘Yeah, I'd love to.' "


The pledge rider who raises the most money will win a trip for four to Las Vegas to see the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon.


The Tub Run is hosted by the South Central Wisconsin Harley Owners Group of Janesville and sponsored by the Kutter Harley-Davidson dealership at 3223 N. Pontiac Drive.


The festivities will kick off this year with a $15 poker run Friday night. Registration will be from 3 to 7 p.m. at Kutter with all bikes due back by 9 p.m.


There will also be a pork dinner at Thresherman's Park, 51 E. Cox Road, Edgerton, starting at 6 p.m. and running until the food is gone. The blues band Back Alley will play at the park from 7 to 11 p.m. and riders can camp for free in the park.


On Saturday, riders can register at Kutter from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The ride will leave Kutter at noon and head toward Clinton, where the riders will break for lunch from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The ride will end at Thresherman's park around 3:30 p.m.


The celebrations continue into Saturday night where there will be a silent action, steak dinner and other bike games. The show band Mr. Big Stuff will play from 7 to 11 p.m.


All proceeds of the ride go to local muscular dystrophy charities. The Tub Rub is the second-largest MDA ride in the country, Alwin said. However, he is optimistic the ride could become even larger if the pledge rider system catches on.


"The response so far has been unbelievable. We have been blown back," Alwin said. "It could be huge, the thing about the pledge system is it doesn't hinge on the weather because you can collect the money in advance."


MDA spokesperson Betsy Berens said they are expecting around 1,600 riders for Saturday and already have between 200 and 300 pledge riders signed up.



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