Breckenridge Texan

This year’s memorial bike ride raised more than $41,000 for local volunteer fire departments

This year’s memorial bike ride raised more than $41,000 for local volunteer fire departments
December 01
13:22 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

This year’s Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride had more participants and raised more funds than it has in its history, more than tripling the amount raised the first year the event became a fundraiser in 2019.

On Wednesday afternoon, several members of the Everett family and others involved in organizing the bike ride gathered at the Breckenridge City Park to present checks to the three local volunteer fire departments. This year, the bike ride raised $41,753.18, donating $13,752.17 each to the Caddo VFD, Hubbard Creek VFD and Wayland VFD.

Bike riders in the 2023 Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride travel down Walker Street toward downtown Breckenridge during the Oct. 21 event. The bike ride raises funds for area volunteer fire departments. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The bike ride is held each year in memory of Sloan Everett, who was killed by a wildfire in the Texas Panhandle in 2017. He and two friends were trying to save the cattle on the Franklin Ranch northeast of Amarillo. The Breckenridge High School graduate had been involved in many aspects of Breckenridge, including serving on the Stephens Memorial Hospital Board and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The first memorial bike ride was held in 2017, and in 2019 the family decided to turn it into a fundraiser for volunteer fire departments. That first fundraising year, they raised $13,136.20 and donated $4,378.73 each to the three VFDs in Stephens County. Each year, the amount raised has increased, and this year, each fire department received more than the total amount that was raised in 2019.

Jim Everett, Sloan’s dad, said that every year they leave one dollar in the account in order to keep the account open and to have something to start with the next year. This year, however, the total, minus that one dollar, wouldn’t divide equally by three. So, the account has $1.01 left in it, after $41,752.17 was shared equally among the local VFDs, he explained.

Not only did the event raise more money this year, it also had more bike riders overall and more in each category. Additionally, the bike ride is beginning to attract more serious riders and had 15 participants in the longest route, which is just over 59 miles. The event offers five routes for riders to choose from, beginning with 4.22 miles in a loop through Breckenridge. The longest route takes the riders to Moran and back.

Liz Sloan McGovern with the Urban Pioneers, and her daughter, Maybelle McGovern, perform during the bike ride’s brunch. (Photo by Tony Pilkington / Breckenridge Texan)

Before the start of the Oct. 21 ride, Shonda Wood sang the national anthem, and Kasey Ragle and others spoke. The annual bike ride also included a fundraising brunch and concert by the Urban Pioneers. This year, Jared and Liz Sloan McGovern with the Urban Pioneers were joined by their young daughter, Maybelle, for a song or two.

The annual event is organized by the Everett family, along with Katherine Parker Post, the event coordinator. Providing assistance along the route each year are the Breckenridge Fire Department, the Breckenridge Police Department, the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, and the three volunteer fire departments.

During Wednesday’s presentation, the firefighters expressed their appreciation for the donations. “What y’all are doing by doing this is you’re paying for insurance, helping with fuel and repairs that we wouldn’t be able to make. We might still driving with bald tires, but now with that, we can get good ones,” Chris Houchin with the Wayland VFD said. “We don’t show it enough, but you won’t believe how much we appreciate you.”

The family was happy to know how much the donations help the fire departments. “We’re glad to hear that,” Jim Everett said. “And I can’t help but think of those three people that died in that pasture. If they just had a little help coming from somewhere, they might have survived; and we relive it all the time. So in some small way, we’re trying to help that not happen again.”

Jim was joined at the presentation by his wife, Teresa Everett, and one of their daughters, Elizabeth Everett.

“I just wanted to say that as I was driving here from Abilene, which is where I live, I was just thinking about why I was coming. It just seems so surreal that we’re here to present a check for almost $42,000 to all of you and it’s all because (Sloan is) gone,” Elizabeth said. “And I just thought, what a way for us to use something so tragic and to use our pain for something good. It’s an investment in this community, and and if (Sloan) were here, he would be investing in this community and making it a better place. So, I’m just thankful. It’s an honor and a privilege to get to give this money to y’all.”

Jim also confirmed that the family intends to continue hosting the bike ride and fundraiser. “I hope we can keep doing it,” he said to the firefighters. “I’m thinking of a Beatles’ song, ‘We get by with a little help from our friends.’ And you guys are friends, and we’re glad to do it. It makes us feel good that we’re helping you and remembering our son.”

Click here to see more photos from the 2023 Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride and the check presentation.

Sy Mitchell, second from right, chief of the Caddo Volunteer Fire Department, accepts a donation from the Sloan Everett Memorial Foundation for one-third of the funds raised at the 2023 Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride. Pictured, from left, are Katherine Parker Post, Elizabeth Everett, Jim Everett, Sy Mitchell and Teresa Everett. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Hubbard Creek Volunteer Fire Department fighters Bacel Cantrell and Carl Huffman accept the donation from Elizabeth Everett and the Sloan Everett Memorial Foundation. Pictured from left are Katherine Parker Post, Jim Everett, Elizabeth Everett, Bacel Cantrell, Carl Huffman and Teresa Everett.  (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Members of the Wayland Volunteer Fire Department Sammy Fambro and G.L. DuBose, center, accept the donation from the Everett family. Pictured, from left are Jim and Teresa Everett, Elizabeth Everett, Sammy Fambro, Cecil Ramsaier, G.L. DuBose, Chris Houchin and Katherine Parker Post. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The 2023 Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride raised $41,753.18 this year for local volunteer fire departments. Pictured, from left, are Sammy Fambro, Jim Everett, Bacel Cantrell, Teresa Everett, Carl Huffman, Elizabeth Everett, Cecil Ramsaier, Katherine Parker Post, G.L. DuBose, Chris Houchin and Sy Mitchell. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Jim Everett, center, talks to the volunteer firefighters at a donation presentation ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Pictured from left are Sy Mitchell, Elizabeth Everett, Teresa Everett (behing Jim), Jim Everett, Sammy Fambro, Cecil Ramsaier and Bacel Cantrell. Click here to see a photo gallery from the bike ride and the donation presentation. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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