As the motorcycles and cars came rolling into Silver Lake Lanes in Iola Sunday, July 21, it was evident the Dylan Thorne Memorial Ride was going to be a success.
“It’s truly overwhelming,” said Dylan’s mother, Liz Thorne. “We were not sure how many riders we were going to have and it turned out awesome.”
“This was awesome for a first annual ride,” Cindy Lessor said. “It hits home when a kid is killed. We wanted to support the family.”
Dylan Thorne was 18 years old when he was killed in a head-on crash in the town of St. Lawrence on July 19, 2012.
According to the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Department, 37-year-old Heather Schmidt, Marion, was northbound on County Road E near Smith Road when her Chevy Suburban crossed the center line and struck the southbound Mercury Grand Marquis driven by the Iola teen.
The Waupaca County district attorney’s office has not filed charges related to the incident.
“We lost our son in an accident,” George Meidam said. “Our community was there for us when we needed them; we wanted to do the same for another family.”
“Dylan meant a lot to everyone,” Taylor Lodewegen said. “It’s so great to see the community come together and support a good cause. It truly shows that we can turn something negative into something positive.”
Two-hundred seventy-nine riders registered.
At 10:30 a.m., on a motorcycle with angel wings airbrushed on it and the number 21 in the middle, Tim and Liz Thorne led 112 motorcycles, followed by cars filled with friends and relatives, from the parking lot.
“Tim kept telling me to look back while we were on Highway 49,” said Thorne. “It was an amazing sight, seeing the endless trail of people behind us. It was very emotional and showed how much people care.”
“The support feels great,” Dylan’s brother Derek said. “Knowing all these people came out for this is amazing. It’s great to be part of such a close community.”
Char Fredheim agreed. “This community is great,” she said. “Iola recognizes their kids and Dylan was an important part of that. It’s great that the whole community will benefit from all this, as the Thorne family is going to give back.”
Upon their return, in a room filled to capacity, Dylan’s Aunt, Tami Thorne, thanked everyone for participating.
“When it was raining, all the angels from above were shedding tears for a beautiful event,” she said.
Proceeds from the event are intended to be used for the future construction of locker rooms and a track at Thunderbird Field in Scandinavia.