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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 8 years ago

Rossmeyer's Ride for Children attracts 800, plus ‘Sopranos' stars


The 18th-annual Bruce Rossmeyer Ride for Children took place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6 and 7, attracting hundreds of residents, as well as stars from HBO’s “The Sopranos.” The event raised more than $300,000.


For the 18th straight year, the Bruce Rossmeyer Ride for Children roared through Ormond Beach last weekend, this time attracting about 800 riders, passengers and volunteers.

According to Mandy Rossmeyer Campbell, daughter of the late Bruce Rossmeyer, the turnout was up from 2011, when bad weather put a damper on driving conditions. But this year, the event neared its attendance cap of 1,000, she said, and also drew a few celebrities, including Emmy-winning director Tim Van Patten (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Sopranos,” “The Wire”), and Emmy-winning actress Edie Falco (“The Sopranos,” “Nurse Jackie”).

“What I try to tell everybody is, once I get them there, they’ll be back every year,” Campbell said of patrons of the motorcycle ride, which has raised $4 million for the Camp Boggy Creek retreat for seriously ill children in the past 17 years.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 9, funds raised from the weekend's event total more than $300,000, Campbell added. Of the event’s top sponsors, the Ormond Beach-based companies are S.R. Perrott Inc., Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson and Destination Daytona, and Hamlin & Associates, which also bought a motorcycle which was given away in a raffle drawing.

Outback Steakhouse provided food for every participant, as well, after they arrived to the camp, in Eustis, from their launch at Destination Daytona.

“You do, you get hooked," Campbell said. "It’s a good feeling to know that people love it so much. Camp Boggy Creek is magical. When you see it, you understand.”

Founded in part by actor Paul Newman, Camp Boggy Creek designs its summer schedule into blocks for children with specific illnesses. One week is for kids with cancer, for instance, and is staffed with medical personnel who administer chemotherapy or distribute medication while the kids fish and play

They also have programs for children with heart conditions, spina bifida, epilepsy and other illnesses.

“So, all summer, the kids come,” Campbell said, “without their parents, probably for the first time in their lives.

And for the Rossmeyers, she added, the Ride for Children is “the only time besides Christmas” that Campbell's entire family of 20 drops everything to come together.

After 18 years, it’s become a family, and community, tradition.

“My kids have grown up with this,” Campbell said. “So I’m hoping that it passes on.”

The next Ride for Children will take place in October 2013.

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