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Kyle Petty Charity Ride makes a stop in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Kyle Petty Charity Ride makes a stop in Joplin

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI - 125 motorcycles on a 2,400-mile journey made a stop in Joplin today, as part of the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, raising donations to send children with terminal or chronic illnesses to summer camp.

15-year-old Keyley Bolding is just one of the estimated 21,000 children and family members who have attended Victory Junction Summer Camp in North Carolina.

The Kyle Petty Charity Ride has drawn in nearly $11.5 million over the past 11 years to help pay for kids like Keyley to attend.

"It's where I can go and do stuff I can't do anywhere else, like a water park and a ropes course," Bolding said. "I don't have to worry about my doctor appointments or my therapies, or anything like that."

Former NASCAR driver Kyle Petty is the founder of the ride, which has attracted other big-name sporting stars such as football legend Herschel Walker.

Both spent a couple hours signing autographs outside the Hideout Harley Davidson location in Joplin, promoting support for the kids.

"That's what it's all about," Petty said. "We put a smile on their face and for a week these kids can just be kids."

"You'll see a camp that puts a lot of great smiles on kids' faces," Walker said.

The ride itself has taken place for 21 years, different routes each time.

This trip began in Santa Cruz, CA and will end in Branson, MO within one week's time.

Riders say it's a journey like no other.

"One of the things that this ride has done for me is sometimes I go through life naive, not really noticing anything, not really seeing anything, this ride, it brought how beautiful America really is," Walker said.

"You're a lot more in touch with the environment," said Jon Manafort, rider. "You can see things, smell things and hear things that you don't hear if you're just going down the road in a car."

The group headed straight from Joplin to their final destination in Branson, MO.

While in town, Freeman Health System presented a $5,000 donation to the charity.
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