WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – In its fourth year, the Ride for Rhinos attracted its biggest crowd ever.
Close to 1,000 motorcycles from five different states lined up in front of Westerville-based Iron Pony Motorsports Sunday morning, where bikers started a 90-minute journey to The Wilds in Cumberland. The event benefits the rhinoceros and other animals at the safari park and conservation center.
“To be able to help them out, it’s like you’re helping your neighbor out,” said Frank Lark, the vice president of marketing for Iron Pony Motorsports.
The Wilds, a 9,152-acre facility, is the largest wildlife conservation center in North America. Proceeds help buy food, water, and supplies for the endangered species living in the park.
“This is actually the world’s largest motorcycle ride to benefit endangered animals,” Lark said.
About 200 riders participated in the inaugural Ride for Rhinos and it has grown fivefold in four years. Some participants said the annual charity ride defies an outdated stereotype that motorcycle riders are trouble-causing ruffians.
“I’ve found that most people out there riding bikes in the community are all real big givers. Everyone wants to give back,” said Jamie Longwell.
Iron Pony Motorsports Group estimated the 2019 ride could raise up to $20,000.
“Every dollar counts toward what we’re trying to do,” said Colby Falconer, the annual giving manager at The Wilds and Columbus Zoo. “It’s amazing that all of these people have come out today to support such a great cause.”