Readshaw's Raiders ride again, raising Civil War memorial funds
Last updated 10/19/2017 at 5:57am
State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, served as host of his 17th Annual "Ride to Gettysburg" on Sept. 23, with 473 riders participating in the motorcycle ride from the state Capitol in Harrisburg to Gettysburg.
"We make the annual trek to support restoration, maintenance and endowment of the Pennsylvania Civil War unit monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield," Rep. Readshaw said. "Once again I am humbled and appreciative of the tremendous support, some of which assists the historic Daniel Lady Farm along Hanover Road in Gettysburg.
"We – we're known as 'Readshaw's Raiders' -- haven't forgotten the importance of Gettysburg and the sacrifices made in that Adams County hamlet 154 years ago," he said.
This year's event began by the East Wing Fountain in Harrisburg with the B.S.A. Venture Crew 1861, portraying the 1st Pennsylvania Reserves Volunteer Fife & Drum Corps, playing The Star-Spangled Banner. The corps also played the national anthem at the ride's end at Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Gettysburg.
The estimated 473 riders were led to Gettysburg by the God Bless America Motorcycle Color Guard, Harrisburg's Zembo Mounted Patrol and Hurnley's Slingshots.
"I'm indebted to the local first responders and members of the motorcycle club ABATE, who help make the ride one of the safest organized motorcycle rides in Pennsylvania," Rep. Readshaw said. "So many people contribute to make the event a success every year, and ABATE members have been steadfast in their support for many years."
Local police and fire departments involved in traffic control to enable the group to ride together were the Capitol Police; the Camp Hill, East Pennsboro, Lower and Upper Allen police and fire departments; the Gettysburg, Hampden Township and Shiremanstown fire departments; and the Gettysburg and York substations of the Pennsylvania State Police.
State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay of Washington County, a former member of the state House and Senate, served as ride marshal. Readshaw and Solobay were joined state Rep. Mark Keller and former state Rep. Teresa Forcier from Crawford County as well as her Motormaids.
"This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monument Project, which I began in 1997 to fund desperately needed cleaning and repairs for the more than 140 monuments and markers on the battlefield," Mr. Readshaw said.
"The motorcycle trek started in 2000, and the efforts help honor the heroism and sacrifice of the thousands of Pennsylvanians who fought at Gettysburg on July 1, 2 and 3 in 1863 in the battle that turned the Civil War to the Union's favor," said Rep. Readshaw, noting that most of the Pennsylvania monuments and markers were erected by veterans of the battle.
The State Representative also encourages other states to restore and preserve monuments they have placed on the Gettysburg battlefield honoring their respective soldiers. Most states have accomplished their goals, one with official state legislation.
"Planning already is under way for the 2018 Ride to Gettysburg next fall," Rep. Readshaw said. "I look forward to continuing to preserve and protect the Pennsylvania monuments that honor those who fought and in some cases died at the Battle of Gettysburg."