Even in a crowd of more than 500 bikers, Tracy Newman is likely to stand out with her bright pink motorcycle and matching leather gear.
When she had the formerly black bike painted last year, it wasn't for any particular cause.
"Pink is my favorite color. I wanted it to be pink," she said.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tracy Newman rides her pink Harley-Davidson motorcycle recently complete with pink shirt, boots and headband. Newman is one of many riders who will be participating in the Angel Ride.
But it does fit perfectly with the reason for this weekend's ride. The sixth annual Angel Ride to Save the Ta-Tas will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and will raise money for breast cancer patients at Trinity Regional Medical Center.
Linda Lowery, one of the event coordinators, said the route would be about 115 miles. The ride begins at Community Tap and Pizza in Fort Dodge and will visit Lynch's in Rockwell City, the Viking's Bay in Sac City, the Sportster in Newell, the Watering Hole in Fonda and the recently opened Shoreside bar and grill in Manson before returning to Community Tap.
Breakfast will be served in the morning at Community Tap. A lunch plate including pork burger, beans and chips will be for sale at the Sportster.
If you go:
What: Angel Ride to Save the Ta-Tas
When: Sign up by 9 a.m. to ride at 11 a.m. Saturday. Return to Community Tap by 5 p.m. for silent and live auctions and food. Pre-registration party is 7 p.m. Friday at Sneakers Eatery 1317 Central Ave., featuring Dueling Pianos.
Where: Ride begins and ends at Community Tap, 2026 Fifth Ave. S., traveling through Rockwell City, Sac City, Newell, Fonda and Manson.
Cost: $15 per person; money goes to TRMC Oncology
"The gal there, the main bartender, is a cancer survivor, so the town is coming out to help us on that," Lowery said.
Though it started as a motorcycle ride, Lowery said people could bring cars, trucks or buses.
"Last year we had three or four bicycles go," she said. "They left at 6 in the morning so they could ride it."
Riders can sign up at Community Tap starting at 9 a.m. Saturday or at the pre-party at Sneakers Eatery and Pub from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday. That party will feature the Dueling Pianos, pair of players who normally perform at Willow Ridge, Lowery said.
Cost for the pre-party is $5; the ride itself is $15 per rider.
All the money raised goes to Trinity Oncology. It helps women with travel and hotel expenses, meal vouchers, wigs, hats and scarves, said RaeAnne Frey Marner, director of the Trinity Cancer Center.
"Their donations have provided assistance with breast cancer support services, awareness and education programs, and detection through cancer screening for women that are underinsured or with no insurance," Marner said. "Because of their help in meeting these needs, our patients find the strength and courage to transcend the effects of cancer."
Marner has been involved with the project since it started. This year, she will also be riding along on the route.
Event coordinator Dawn Wesley said, "The people out at Trinity will tell us, when somebody decides they can't continue their treatments because they can't afford their co-pay or what have you, and they tell them, we've got you covered, there's a group. They tell them about us, and we take care of them.
"There's a gal right now who has to pay $50 every time she gets her treatment, and our funds go to pay that. She can't afford it because she's missed so much work. She's a single mom."
"There was one who got breast cancer last year and made her deductible," said Lowery. "Well, the first part of this year she had to meet her $1,500 deductible, and this money paid for that. Otherwise she'd have to start all over, and she just didn't have the funds."
Last year, 570 people participated in the ride, and raised more than $43,000 dollars.
"It's amazing how we started out so small," Lowery said. "Our first ride had 200 people, and raised $3,000."
There will be a silent auction Friday night, and a live auction on Saturday at Community Tap after the ride. Items include bird feeders, a pedal car, and autographed University of Iowa footballs and flags.
Also to be auctioned are more than 10 chairs decorated by local businesses, individuals, and Fort Dodge Senior High students in this year's Chairs for Chairity fundraiser.
Lowery has been riding with the group ever since the end of the first year, and Wesley has been involved since the end of the second year. Both have cancer survivors in their family.
"I think a lot of people take this as a pay-it-forward type of deal," Lowery said. "My grandma died of it before I was born, and I don't want to see anyone else go through it."
Newman also had personal experience with the disease.
"My sister is a breast cancer survivor of 11 years," she said. "She was diagnosed at age 45, which is awfully young I thought. It was pretty scary, but she did well, and has done well.
"It makes you more aware."