Legion Riders to tour Southwest Missouri starting today

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Jun. 24—WEBB CITY, Mo. — A motorcycle group of the American Legion, the Legion Riders, will arrive in Webb City today and tour the area on motorcycles over the next few days to promote awareness of the legion's scholarship fund.

Steve Maddox, director of Carl Junction Legion Post 13, said about 100 motorcyclists from around the state will ride into Webb City about 5 p.m. today and gather at that city's legion post, 1000 N. Main St. Registration for them will be held there, and there will be a safety briefing by the ride captain. Dinner will be served to riders and they will stay overnight.

Maddox said the ride benefits the legion's Legacy Scholarship Fund.

"The fund provides scholarships for children whose parents have been killed in the military since 9/11," Maddox said. "Each child receives a four-year scholarship. There has been millions raised since the ride started 2002."

Legacy rides are held by legion posts in all U.S. states, Maddox said.

The local ride will resume at 7:30 a.m. Friday, when participants will leave Webb City using Main Street to Missouri Highway 171 headed west to Carl Junction, where they will stop at that post around 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. After that, the riders will head east to Carthage for a short break at Carthage Memorial Hall around 10:15 a.m.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol motorcycle unit and the Jasper County Sheriff's Department will provide road guards and escorts to keep the group riding together through intersections.

After the ride in Jasper County, the group heads south from Carthage, traveling south through Diamond and Neosho. The route will take them to Seneca and on to nearby Wyandotte, Oklahoma, where they will head back to Southwest Missouri to Tiff City and then east through Anderson, Pineville and Noel. From there, they will go east to Cassville, where the day's ride will wrap up.

On Saturday, they will drive north through Monett to Missouri Highway 96 and then head through Mount Vernon and past Shell Knob to the Arkansas state line. They will then ride northeast to Kimberling City, where they will stay Saturday night.

On Sunday, they will head northeast to Ava and then ride northwest to Springfield, where Sunday's ride in Southwest Missouri will end.

This year, actor William Shatner, who starred in "Star Trek," "Boston Legal" and other television shows and movies, has joined the ride to bring attention to the fundraising effort. He is riding a newly introduced Rivet One vehicle, which was developed by him alongside the American Wrench company. It is a three-wheeled ride with exposed rivets on the body.

Shatner is among a group of Legion Riders that left Chicago on June 23 headed to Hollywood along the route Shatner followed when he traveled at 19 years old to Los Angeles to break into show business. They will be visiting legion posts along their route to promote the scholarship program.

People who want updates on the ride may go online to legion.org and look for "Legacy Scholarship Fund." Donations to the scholarship fund may be made online at legion.org/donate. There also is a form on that page with information on how to send a donation by check for those who don't want to do it online.

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