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Mooseheart’s 10th annual Blessing of the Bikes takes place Saturday. Gates open at 9 a.m. The blessing takes place at noon at the campus’ House of God and a rock concert follows.
MOOSEHEART, May 15 - In a decade of “motorized kindness,” hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the U.S. have come to Mooseheart each May to receive a blessing for a safe riding season, and to show how their passion for motorcycles can be a vehicle for helping children in-need.
This “Blessing of the Bikes” at Mooseheart reaches its 10th anniversary this Saturday, May 18, and the campus will be the scene for quite a celebration centered around the blessing — to be delivered at noon at the Mooseheart House of God.
This year’s blessing already has more pre-registrations than in 2012, when the event reached a record attendance, said Assistant Director of Activities Chris Ecker, who organizes the event, A year ago, 367 bikes and 451 bikers participated in the event, which is a fundraiser for both Moose Charities and Special Olympics.
In addition to being the symbolic start to the riding season, the Bike Blessing is a major fundraiser. In 2012, donations totaled $6,335 to Special Olympics and $10,795.75 to Moose Charities. Since 2006, fully $84,079 has been raised through the Bike Blessing: $3,700 to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, $18,878 to Special Olympics and $61,500 to Moose Charities.
For the first time, the bike blessing will feature a concert by “Eliminator,” a ZZ Top tribute band; and “Southern Jack”, playing music made famous by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers and Molly Hatchett . The concert runs from 2-5 p.m., and will be staged at the Mooseheart Fieldhouse.
Television star Erik Estrada is the 2013 event’s guest rider. Remembered for his role as “Ponch” in the mid-1970s series “CHiPS,” one of Estrada’s passions is ridding society of child sexual predators. The organization he works with is Safe Surfin’ Foundation – an organization which partners with and receives funding from the Moose organization. Estrada has been on Mooseheart’s campus previously; he has spoken passionately at Moose Conventions about his role with Safe Surfin’.
Gates open at 9 a.m. for the 2013 Blessing of the Bikes; registration can be done on the day of the event for $25 per bike.
Upcoming Events at Mooseheart
May 16: Spring Band and Choral Concert, 2:15 p.m., House of God
May 18: 10th Annual Blessing of the Bikes, 9 a.m., Mooseheart Fieldhouse, House of God
May 20, Memorial Day Program, 3 p.m., House of God
May 23, Honors and Awards Program, 1 p.m., Mooseheart Fieldhouse
May 25, High School Commencement, 3:30 p.m. Mooseheart Fieldhouse and Stadium
July 27, Mooseheart Centennial Celebration, Mooseheart Fieldhouse and Stadium
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 220 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 75-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.