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Kyle Petty Charity Ride rolls through Pipestone

PIPESTONE -- No other sounds stood a chance Thursday morning, as the rumbling of 200 motorcycle engines overtook all. Retired NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his crew rode through the city of Pipestone on their way to Minneapolis for Petty's 23rd an...

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In Pipestone, Rusty Radloff speaks with retired NASCAR driver Kyle Petty during his 23rd annual charity ride. (Special to the Daily Globe)

PIPESTONE - No other sounds stood a chance Thursday morning, as the rumbling of 200 motorcycle engines overtook all.

 

Retired NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his crew rode through the city of Pipestone on their way to Minneapolis for Petty’s 23rd annual charity motorcycle ride, which raises funds for children with serious illnesses, injuries or disabilities.

 

Tom Steffes had a great view from out in front of the Pipestone Chamber of Commerce office, where he’s the administrative manager. More than 50 people formed a welcome party at the Eighth Avenue intersection to cheer on the convoy as they made their way toward Minnesota 23.

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“None of us had any idea he was going to stop,” Steffes said. “All of a sudden, this motorcycle pulls out of the crowd of motorcycles. At first you couldn’t tell who he was, because he was all bundled up, but then he flipped his screen up and said “I’m Kyle!”

Shocked by the hero’s unexpected unmasking, area NASCAR fans scurried to grab things for Petty to autograph. Meanwhile, Petty began shaking hands and taking selfies.

 

The ride started Saturday in Portland, Ore. Thursday was Day Six of the seven-day race to the finish line in Milwaukee, Wis.

Petty’s star-studded entourage included his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and former pro football player Herschel Walker, along with retired drivers Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff and Donnie Allison. Due to the cold weather, “The King” rode in a car instead of a motorcycle.

 

Petty only stopped for a little while, but it was a treat for fans such as Pipestone resident Randy Solma, who has an autographed Richard Petty hat and jacket, among other items.

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This isn’t his first time supporting the charity ride. Solma met Kyle Petty eight or nine years ago when the charity ride traveled through Sioux Falls, S.D., and even got to have breakfast with the decorated driver.

 

“My wife and I have been Kyle and Richard fans for a long time, so it was very cool to see him again,” Solma said. “Super nice people.”

 

Since its inception in 1995, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has raised over $17.5 million to support Victory Junction and other children’s charities. Victory Junction is a year-round camp that provides fun and empowering experiences for children ages six to 16 with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

 

Petty and his family established the camp in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam. Last year, the ride raised more than $1 million, sending 100 children to camp.

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Retired NASCAR driver Kyle Petty is met with fans in front of the Pipestone Chamber of Commerce during his 23rd annual charity ride. (Special to the Daily Globe)

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