Rich Guider has a mission: he wants to make his son, Jonah, a hero. Jonah Guider passed away at age 10, a victim of pulmonary hypertension. Now, says Rich, “I want to keep his memory alive. And a secondary benefit is raising money to fight pulmonary hypertension.”
That’s what Ride Jonah Ride is all about. The event, which is the fourth annual, will take place this year on Saturday, June 22, at Hop Springs Beer Park. The event will begin with a charity motorcycle ride, followed in the evening by an all-ages party that will celebrate Jonah’s life with food, drinks, live music and fun.
“We live in an amazing, close-knit community—especially in our neighborhood,” Rich says. “They’ve been our backbone since our loss. If we did anything to raise money in Jonah’s name, they were there.”
Every year, the neighborhood gathers on Jonah’s birthday for Papa John’s pizza, Dr. Pepper and mint chocolate chip ice cream—Jonah’s favorites. “And everything is in red, because that was Jonah’s favorite color,” says Rich.
Photos by Rich Guider
Rich’s wife Sheri organized an event called Run Jonah Run, a 5k race that raised money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. The event was a success. Then, the first autumn after the Guiders lost Jonah, one of their neighbors suggested to Rich that they also organize a charity motorcycle ride in Jonah’s honor.
“Several of us [in the neighborhood] had motorcycles and would go out driving together pretty frequently,” Rich explains. He loved the idea of doing a ride for Jonah.
“I had never been to one until then. We threw it together for the following June not really knowing what we were doing,” Rich says. “But I knew what I wanted—an afternoon ride followed by an evening celebration.”
That’s just what they did, and the event was so popular they decided to do it again. This year, they’re expecting around 100 to 150 motorcycles and around four to five hundred to attend in the evening for the second phase of the event, Rock the Red. Riders will receive a free lunch provided by Hunt Brothers Pizza, then go for a ride throughout Middle Tennessee that will end back where they started, at Hop Springs. The evening event starts at 6 p.m. and will include barbecue provided by Batey Farms smoked on site, beer from Hop Springs, prizes and silent auction items (including a red fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels). For the kids, there will be games and root beer floats, and live music will be provided by Mixtape.
“Every dime we raise that night goes to PHA,” says Rich. “The donations we raise beforehand from our amazing local sponsors pay for the event itself.” He and Sheri are also grateful to Hop Springs and co-owner Mark Jones. “He said basically, whatever you need for the event, we’ll supply it as a sponsorship,” Rich says. “He caught the vision immediately, and also saw an opportunity to expand their ties in the community.”
Jones invited both Ride Jonah Ride and Sherri’s event, Run Jonah Run, to take place at Hop Springs. Run Jonah Run will be held on Nov. 9.
Learn more and sign up for Ride Jonah Ride at www.phaevents.org/ridejonahride.