Snap-On hosts annual Tennessee Thunder Ride

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This weekend the hills will echo with a sweet rumbling as Snap-On Tools presents the annual Tennessee Thunder Ride to help raise money for Relay for Life.
This marks the sixth year for the event, which was founded by a group of employees at the Snap-On Tools facility in Elizabethton.
“We talked with Snap-On and told them they ought to let us have a ride to raise money for Relay for Life,” said Rick McKinney, an employee of Snap-On and one of the organizers for the event. “They thought it would be a good idea, and it is.”
The company has been very supportive of the annual event, McKinney said, adding Snap-On donates door prizes each year such as tools and other Snap-On merchandise.
McKinney said the annual motorcycle ride is also supported by other local businesses. “We get prizes from the different vendors that come in the plant,” he said. “Lowe’s gave us a bunch of gift cards.” He said door prizes this year will also include gifts from local auto parts stores as well as gift certificates to several local restaurants including Jiggy Ray’s, Highlander BBQ and Creekers.
“We have quite a few good prizes,” McKinney said. “We just get out and ask the businesses to help.”
The entry fee for the ride is $20 per bike with an additional $5 fee if there is a passenger on the bike. A goody bag will be given to each bike in the ride. All bikes are welcome to take part in the event.
Last year the event raised nearly $3,000 and had 167 bikes participating in the ride according to McKinney.
“We’ve had a good turn out every year but one,” McKinney said. “The reason we didn’t have a good turn out the one year was because it was the same weekend of the Boone Rally.”
Now, McKinney said the event is held on Memorial Day weekend because there aren’t any other motorcycle events going on in the region at that time.
“We are expecting a good turnout this year,” McKinney said.
The route will take riders through the mountains of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The ride will start at Snap-On Tools, located at 2195 State Line Rd., Elizabethton. From there, riders will proceed along Highway 19E to Hampton and then turn onto Highway 67 to make the trip around Watauga Lake and on into Mountain City. Riders will then travel through Damascus and Glade Springs before concluding the ride at Black Wolf Harley-Davidson, located in Bristol, Va.
Black Wolf Harley-Davidson is one of the event’s sponsors and will be providing lunch to the riders at the end of the ride. During the lunch at the dealership door prizes will be awarded and a 50/50 drawing will be held.
Riders are asked to meet at Snap-On Tools between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 28 for sign up. The ride will depart at 10 a.m.
In the event of bad weather, the ride will be rescheduled for the same times on Saturday, June 4.
For more information on the Tennessee Thunder Ride, please call Rick McKinney at 423-220-9229 or Paul McGill at 423-360-5685.

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