2009 IFWDA 4XKids Day
By: Mark Keener – Fat Boys Jeepers
Inspiring. Heart warming. Moving. Fun. Full of laughter. Uplifting.
These are all words that could describe the latest 4XKids Day, but I
think that the word that best describes it would be WOW!! I’m not
sure who enjoyed the day more – the drivers or the campers - but everyone had a great time!
Saturday, June 27, 2009 brought a day filled with sunshine and low humidity – perfect for a day of “trail riding” with the campers and staff of Camp Riley. Camp Riley is associated with the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and helps inspire children with physical disabilities (such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida) to realize their potential as they become increasingly independent. The kids engage in a variety of activities including horseback riding, swimming, a high ropes course and crafts. They were even water skiing the day before we arrived! Camp Riley is held on the grounds of Bradford Woods, approximately 25 miles South of Indianapolis.
This year marked the sixth annual 4XKids Day, but it was the first one that I participated in. I’ve only been a member of Fat Boys Jeepers (FBJ) and IFWDA since February. After I joined the clubs I was perusing their web sites and came across the articles on prior year’s Camp Riley events. As I got to know FBJ Scott Sperling (the Camp Riley event coordinator) I talked to him about the event. I could tell how important this event was to him so I immediately became interested in participating. I decided to have my start up business pay for a sponsorship on the event shirt and I even contacted a couple of my clients to do the same. It was money well spent!
Thirty eight volunteer drivers came in from many distant places to help make this event a success. My own niece even arranged her visit to Ohio from California to partake in the fun. As it was my first year, I wasn’t sure what to expect as we got ready for the event but I knew it would be fun. The drivers met first and got our rigs ready by removing tops and doors to make it easier to get the campers in and out. This was followed by a drivers meeting and a quick orientation by the camp director. Then, the moment arrived to get started and we all drove the staging area where we were met with thunderous applause from the campers and counselors!! What a rush! After a quick introduction, the event was officially started by the familiar call of “Ladies and Gentlemen – START YOUR ENGINES!” The noise was deafening as we all red-lined the engines on our rigs!
Almost 100 campers and many counselors were taken on “trail rides” that day. Our route took us all over the campground. We went over paved roads, down gravel roads to a scenic lake, through woods, over to a dam, through an open field and we even made a water crossing over a small spillway. The rides lasted about 20-30 minutes each and ended with smiles and hugs.
After the rides were over, it was time for the IFWDA members to make presentations to Camp Riley and for the campers to make a presentation of hand made thank-you cards to us. As an added bonus, the campers and counselors even sang a special thank you song for the drivers! Talk about heart warming!
The generosity from the four wheel drive community was astounding and included the following cash donations:
$2000 from Fat Boys Jeepers
$1500 from the sale of shirt sponsorships
$600 from IFWDA
$250 from ProOffroad
Additionally, many others donated goods and services to this event including:
Scout Graphics – printing of event shirts
Doty Graphics – printing of event stickers
Sharon Stewart – printing of event postcards
MOJO – hosting of after-party and meal.
The following companies / organizations participated by sponsoring the shirt:
Hi-Lift Jack Company
4Wheel Parts Perf. Ctrs. of Indianapolis
ProOffRoad (New sponsor)
Randy & Joanne Brooks Foundation
Clover Patch, Inc.
Hoosier Container Inc.
4 Wheels to Freedom
RuffRiders 4x4 Club
Fat Boys Jeepers
Iron Horse 4x4’s
Central Indiana Chapter of ASPE
Clover Patch, Inc.
BCW Supplies, Inc. (NEW sponsor)
Rawhide Ranch (NEW sponsor)
www.oIIIIIIIo.US (NEW sponsor)
Your Rides Here (Long time supporter, NEW sponsor)
Thank you, Scott, for inviting me to participate this year. It was a day I won’t forget. And, finally, a huge THANK YOU to all of you that volunteered your time and rigs to make this event a huge success!! As mentioned earlier, this was my first 4XKids Day event, but it won’t be my last