Click on photo to enlarge
|Tim Myers, Gary Conger,
Robert Malone and Fred Bell
are riding from the site of the Oklahoma
City bombing to Ground Zero in New York City to pay homage to the victims
of both these horrendous attacks on innocent civilians.
"Since the attacks on America, with the tremendous loss of life and devastating destruction of the Twin Towers, which stood as great symbols of America, we were moved by the spirit of our western ancestors, to show the world that the roots of this great country run very deep.
We will be riding from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building site in Oklahoma City to the site of the Twin Towers in New York City.
We will journey for 5 months in order to make it to NYC for the 1 year
anniversary of this horrific attack on humanity. Along the way we
will be gathering relief funds to set up a scholarship fund for the children and
victims of such terrorist attacks.
The "Ride 4 America" will be promoting our western heritage in towns and cities across the nation and educating children about the roots of our freedom. We are very confident the people of this great nation will support this endeavor in every way possible. It is our sincere desire that the American Cowboy and our great ancestors not become forgotten, but the cowboy legacy be remembered as true Americans with heavy hearts and helping hands."
Tim Myers telephoned The Long Riders' Guild to report that the four Oklahoma cowboys who make up the "Ride 4 America" group have safely reached Branson, Missouri. He reports that the people along the route have been terrific, and that he and other Long Riders are busy announcing that 2002 "is the Year of the Horse"!
The Long Riders' Guild had another telephone call from Tim Myers.
Tim, Gary, Robert and Jason (who has replaced Fred Bell) have nearly completed their 2,000 plus mile journey. Oh yes, and let's not forget the 55 other riders who have joined the original four Oklahoma cowboys along the way! All of the Oklahoma riders are still using their original horses, which are in such superb shape that they have been complimented by vets all along their route.
"On 2nd August we reached the Pentagon, where we were welcomed by a 4-star General," Tim told The Long Riders' Guild.
|When they arrive at Ground Zero, the Oklahoma Long Riders will present this special saddle, covered with the badges of more than sixty fire departments encountered on the trip, to the Firefighters of New York City.|
Just prior to their arrival in New York, Tim Myers made a special phone call to 82-year-old Virginia Shumaker Payne. One of America's legendary Long Riders, Virginia made her first ride across the USA in the summer of 1941. A few months later the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and America entered the Second World War. Because of her earlier equestrian journey, Virginia was called upon by famed cowboy movie star Gene Autry. Though she had already ridden from Ohio to Los Angeles, Gene wanted Virginia on a new mission. He asked her to ride as advance scout for the cavalcade of Hollywood movie stars he was going to lead across the country. This first War Bond Drive would conclude in New York. With her country in trouble, Virginia took to the saddle again. The lady Long Rider rode her horse to New York, on a route close to that taken by Tim Myers and the Oklahoma Long Riders today. With Gene Autry close by, Virginia rode her Morgan stallion in front of a bevy of movie stars as they all made their way through a ticker tape parade down Broadway.
When The Long Riders' Guild informed Tim and the Oklahoma Long RIders about Virginia's role in this early Long Ride to New York, they called Ohio to invite her to fly up, meet them, and ride into New York one more time. Alas, she had to decline because of health reasons.
Yet she had this message for Tim and his companions.
"Take it to 'em", the still-feisty Long Rider told this new generation of equestrian travelers.
|Long Rider Virginia Shumaker Payne, first rode her Morgan stallion from her home in Ohio to Los Angeles in the summer of 1941. Thereafter, she turned him east, and headed for New York during a time of critical crisis for her country - much like her four successors from Oklahoma are doing today.|
The Oklahoma Long Riders are scheduled to conclude their own historic trip to New York City on September 5th, when the New Jersey State Police and the New York City Sheriff's Office will escort them across the George Washington Bridge to Murray and West Street. From there they will ride to Ground Zero - their long awaited destination.
Well - Tim and his four fellow Long Riders made it!
In addition to the Oklahoma cowboys who rode more than 2,000 miles to reach Ground Zero, another 65 horsemen rode into the heart of New York city with them on 5th September. According to city authorities this is the largest mounted group to enter New York in recent history.
In a telephone call to The Long Riders' Guild, Tim described the scene which met their eyes.
"I couldn't believe it when we reached Ground Zero. After riding across this vast country, there at last was our final destination. But I wasn't prepared for what I saw. Where the Twin Towers had stood, all we saw was a sixteen acre hole that was six stories deep! All I could think to do was to step off my horse and kiss the ground. It really was the end of a heart-felt ride that took us from the heartland of America to the heart of New York," Tim told The Long Riders' Guild by phone from New York.
|Click on the photo to enlarge it, and enjoy the amazing sight of 70 horses in downtown New York!|
The Oklahoma Long Riders were greeted at Ground Zero by a bevy of media and government officials. After receiving a letter of appreciation from the mayor of New York, Tim told the crowd that he and his fellow Long Riders believed 2002 should be designated as "The Year of the Horse" because of the important role the horse has played in both the development of the United States and throughout their own ride from Oklahoma. With 286 years of equestrian travel now documented on the North America continent by The Long Riders' Guild, Tim had history on his side.
Tim and friends will now saddle up for one more short ride, a 140 mile trot from New York to Philadelphia. They are bound for the "City of Brotherly Love" where they will be guests at the 10th annual Vision Quest Congress. This non-profit group was organized to help troubled inner-city youths by taking them on equestrian adventures and wagon train travels through out the United States. More than 50 of these city kids have accompanied the Long Riders along various stages of their journey from Oklahoma City to New York's Ground Zero.
After their appearance in Philadelphia, the Long Riders will be loading their horses and driving them back to Claremont, Oklahoma. There horses and riders will be the guests of honor at a celebration being held in their honor by the vets of Oklahoma. The six original horses, who have will have journeyed almost 3,000 miles when the journey is completed in Philadelphia, are in such fine shape that the medical authorities in Oklahoma have decided to honor them and their Long Riders.
To learn more about this ride, please visit the Ride4America website.
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