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Pets, bikers unite for a good cause
Larry Casey, dressed as a polar bear, leaves the parking lot of Gainesville Motorsports for Saturday’s Humane Society of Hall County Ride for Paws. - photo by Tom Reed

Motorcyclists and animal lovers gathered Saturday to raise money for the Hall County Humane Society in its second annual "Ride for Paws" event.

The event at Gainesville Motorsports drew numerous bikers and many different types of motorcycles. Vendors were on hand for spectators and participants.

"We had about 45 motorcycles and 25 extra riders. We had nine vendors," said Rick Aiken, the executive director of the Hall County Humane Society. "100 percent (of proceeds) goes to the Humane Society."

All participants were given a free T-shirt designed for the event listing the sponsors on the back.

"It’s interesting," Aiken said. "Most of the people riding motorcycles have dogs and cats. They are very pet-oriented."

Vendors on hand offered raffles with prizes for both dogs and people.

Many families who came out to enjoy the event brought their dogs. Law enforcement officers helped with the ride by escorting motorcycles.

Among the routes the bikers took had them going up Sardis Road and through Mount Vernon, Lula and Gainesville.

Charles Boyd was one of the bikers who rode, along with his wife, Margie.

"We always ride in benefit rides," Boyd said. "We are animal lovers."

The couple says they like to participate in benefit rides that help out organizations like the Humane Society. Boyd said he enjoyed meeting new friends at the event.

"We were riding by the lake and mountains," he said. "They picked a good route. Very scenic."

"It was a beautiful ride," Margie Boyd said.

The Humane Society has several other events scheduled, including several rabies clinics and flea dips. Its next big event is the eighth annual Putting for Pets Mini Golf Tournament set for Aug. 8 at The Oaks Miniature Golf in Gainesville.

"We like to involve the family," Aiken said. "The small children can get involved in this."

A complete list of upcoming events is on the Hall County Humane Society’s Web site, Aiken says next year’s fundraising plans include a bike show.