By DAVID SWEARINGEN
July 10, 2019
In 1987, one man’s dream of riding his bike across the country came true. What he did not know was the inspiration and motivation his trek across America would give to The Ability Experience. The very next year, his ride inspired The Ability Experience to create the largest fraternal fundraising and awareness event of its kind, the Journey of Hope.
Today the Journey of Hope covers 32 different states, cycling over 12,000 miles combined, it is solely comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi and continues to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities. There are 3 different groups that ride their bicycles from a location on the west coast to Washington, D.C.
The particular group who came through Stephenville on Wednesday was the Journey of Hope Southern Team. They began their journey in Santa Barbara, California and they will meet up with the other two teams in Washington, D.C. On this long journey, they average 75 miles a day. The bicyclists will complete their long journey to the nation’s capital on August 10.
The Southern Cycling Team passed through Stephenville on Wednesday and they stayed the night at the Hard N Ranch near Bluff Dale. They were able to visit the Dr. Pepper Plant as they passed through Dublin on their way to Stephenville and Bluff Dale. A group of six area residents raise money each year to purchase the food and feed these cyclists when they pass through town. The area residents who saw to it the cycling team was well fed was David Tomlinson, Janette Goodman, Lisa Scroggins, Tommy Keith, David Perez and Steve Jenkins. Several of these folk have been helping and feeding these cyclists for 12 years now.
On Wednesday evening, the cyclists were treated to a delicious meal of pork chops, quail, jalapeno poppers, green beans, salad, bread and cobbler for desert. The meal was cooked and served at the beautiful home of Tommy Keith which is on the Keith Ranch near Bluff Dale. The Chuck Wagon Cooks from the Cowboy Church of Erath County cooked the delicious Wednesday evening meal and Israel Perez prepared the delicious peach cobbler. The cyclists spent the night at the Hard N Ranch before waking early on Thursday for a delicious breakfast at Peacock’s in Stephenville. TSU provided Gatorade for the group and allowed them to use their showers. By 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, the cyclists were cycling their way towards Fort Worth. David Perez said this group of young men were some of the nicest and most polite young men you could ever hope to meet. Each cyclist commits to raise a minimum of $6,000 on behalf of those with disabilities.