IAAPA Expo Motorcycle Run Accelerates the Fun
On Sunday, Nov. 13, attractions industry professionals from around the world put up their kickstands and sped off on a ride through Florida’s scenic countryside in an annual event benefitting Give Kids The World Village, a nonprofit resort that provides no-cost vacations to critically ill children and their families.
The event first began 14 years ago, with an impressive number of original attendees and organizers present at this year’s gathering. Many reflected fondly on the history of the charity event.
“We’ve been supporting the Motorcycle Run since the very first year,” says Sara Seay, vice president of administration, sales, and marketing at Premier Rides. “We’re one of the founding members of the group that started this,” added Jim Seay, president and owner of Premier Rides.
This year’s festivities kicked off with opportunities to reconnect with friends and riders from previous iterations of the event, many of whom had not been able to share in their love of riding—and of the attractions industry—for several years. The event was originally developed to create a space for IAAPA Expo attendees who share a passion for Give Kids The World Village. “Our industry has a lot of fun-loving people,” says Tom Sheehan, a founding member of the Annual IAAPA Charity Motorcycle Run.
True to Tom’s sentiment, the event drew a crowd of adventurous riders ready to get out on the open road—and just as many individuals eager to sing the praises of Give Kids The World’s inspiring mission. “The more you know about Give Kids The World, the more you want to support them,” says Ken Whiting, 2022 IAAPA Chairman of the Board and president of Whiting’s Food Concessions, Inc. “Our industry has always partnered with them, and there is a tremendous alignment with amusement parks, attractions, and the children and families being served.”
Just before the riders hit the road, Give Kids the World President Pamela Landwirth—along with Ken Whiting and Tom Sheehan—spoke to the group. They expressed their gratitude to the community who participated. Landwirth detailed how donations to Give Kids the World assists the organization to deliver an even higher proportion of unforgettable experiences to critically ill children and their loved ones, many of whom had to wait through the worst of the pandemic for their opportunity to experience the resort.
“These kids, they’ve been waiting for two years because of the pandemic,” shared Landwirth. “I met a little boy last week who was supposed to come twice before the pandemic, but setbacks in his medical condition postponed it. And then he was supposed to come the week of Hurricane Ian. He finally got there, and I asked, ‘Was it worth the wait?’ And he said, ‘I smiled so much my cheeks hurt!’”