Freedom Ride brings cyclists to Liberty to raise funds for education foundation

Cyclists set off on the Freedom Ride through the streets of Liberty and northward to Hardin and Moss Hill.

More than a hundred cyclists braved the rainy, cold weather Saturday to participate in the Seventh Annual Freedom Ride, sponsored by the Liberty ISD Education Foundation. Most of the cyclists came from the greater Houston area, including some cyclists originally from Australia and England.

The bike ride and other Liberty ISD Education Foundation events raise funds for classroom grants for Liberty ISD teachers.

Saturday’s weather discouraged some riders from attending, but there will still a good turnout among the die-hard cyclists who didn’t mind a little rain. Organizers had optimistically prepared for 300 cyclists, though only 118 rode and 140 pre-registered.

Freedom Ride volunteers worked Saturday morning to put on a good event for the 100 or so cyclists who turned out. Pictured left to right are Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett, Logan Pickett, Richard Vinson and Bruce Wright.

“We’ve had so many setbacks in recent years because of the weather. Last year, we had only 75 show up because it was freezing,” said Bruce Wright, the spokesperson for the LISD Education Foundation.

With the ride now behind them, organizers are now working on plans to revive their annual gala, which has been put on hold for the past five years in part due to COVID.

“It’s been a while since we had a gala,” Wright said. “We are now planning a foundation gala this year for April 23 in the Liberty Center (inside Liberty City Hall).”

The gala will feature performances by The Royal Dukes Band, which will be performing with an 11-piece horn section and back-up singers.

“The band is perfect for people who want to dance. This year, the gala will honor Janie Ripkowski, who is 94. Our tagline is ‘Still Dancing With Janie Rip.’ She was the dance sponsor for many years at the high school and she taught special ed. She is one of those special people who is always there and willing to help,” Wright said. “Everybody loves her.”

The meal for the gala will be provided by Tuscany’s Italian Restaurant of Dayton. The $75 per person ticket price will cover the cost of admission, the meal, wine and beer. Only 200 tickets will be sold, so people who wish to attend are encouraged to make those arrangements as quickly as possible.

Table sponsors and silent auction donors are also needed.

The money raised from both the Bike Ride and the gala will be added to the Education Foundation’s growing endowment account, which reached a $1 million milestone in 2020. Wright said the goal for the Education Foundation is to be able to provide grants from money raised through interest-bearing investment accounts.

“Our investment account really paid off for the Education Foundation over the last couple of years with COVID when we weren’t able to have many fundraising events. Our investments carried us through,” he said.

For more information on the Education Foundation, go online to https://www.libertyeducationfoundation.net/. Tickets to the gala can be made through the website or by calling or texting Wright at 936-641-0367.

Freedom Ride cyclists started their ride in downtown Liberty on Saturday before venturing north.

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