Annual 'Tub Run' nets big pledges for MDA
JANESVILLE Brandon and Melissa Shippee of Janesville waited next to rows and rows of motorcycles that glinted in the sun Saturday morning at Kutter Harley-Davidson.
The Shippees were lined up for the start of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Tub Run. Both had on sunglasses and purple T-shirts that said “Team Kherington” in honor of their daughter, Kherington.
Kherington, 2, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a type of muscular dystrophy. She was diagnosed with the disorder in January.
The Shippees have ridden in the Tub Run, an annual motorcycle ride that benefits muscular dystrophy, for the last five years. This year’s run was different.
“It’s always been a good cause—not that it affected us back then,” said Brandon. “It means more for us this year than it ever has personally. Once it hits you at home, when it’s your child, it touches you personally.”
According to MDA fundraising coordinator Chelsey Emmett, 1,568 riders on 1,039 bikes entered the run Saturday afternoon, which was hosted by South Central Wisconsin Harley Owners Group of Janesville.
It was sponsored by Kutter Harley-Davidson, the site of registration and takeoff for the run. Proceeds from pledges and registration go to raise money for the MDA.
Although there were about a hundred fewer riders this year, Emmett said that by mid-afternoon Saturday, donation totals already exceeded last year’s amount.
Emmett said that’s because this year, for the first time, the MDA asked riders for individual pledges prior to the Tub Run.
Saturday afternoon, pledges were at $22,000, with five riders donating at least $1,000. Emmett said Tub Run organizers plan to continue the pledge system in the future.
“This is the beginning of an amazing tradition,” she said. “We’re hoping it’ll continue to grow and flourish.”
Former Edgerton resident Chris Kueng came from Kansas City, Mo. to ride in the Tub Run. He’s entered it for years, but not since he took a transfer with General Motors two years ago.
With him was his girlfriend’s daughter, Abby Flora, 9, of Janesville. She had on a dirt bike helmet with a yellow Mohawk on top.
“She wanted to do the ride, so I came all the way back for it,” Kueng said, hitching his thumb at Abby.
The pair planned to ride through Janesville and then peel off before leaving town.
Other riders did the full three-and-a-half hour ride, which went all the way south to Clinton, and then back north though the east part of the county, finally heading west to Thresherman’s Park near Edgerton where a cookout, live music and camping awaited.