VIDEO & STORY -- An estimated 1,000 riders entered the 12th annual motorcycle ride from Smyrna to Rehoboth Beach. The event has raised more than $297,000 for Special Olympics Delaware in the past 11 years.

An estimated 1,000 motorcyclists departed Smyrna this morning, April 22, in the "Ride to the Tide" to benefit Special Olympics Delaware.

The opening ceremony at Rommel Harley-Davidson featured a proclamation read by state Sen. Bruce Ennis about Motorcycle Awareness Safety Month and presentations thanking riders, sponsors, the group with the most riders, the Delaware Blue Knights, and the individuals raising the most in donations. 

Then the riders started  55-mile journey to Jake’s Seafood House in Rehoboth Beach, where participants were scheduled to enjoy lunch compliments of Jake’s.

The 12th annual ride, which is police-escorted so there are no stops at lights, is sponsored by Delmarva Power and organized by the Delaware Blue Knights – Chapter 1. The event is supported by Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Delaware, Jake's Seafood House, Rommel Harley Davidson, WBOC 16 and Fox 21 Delmarva.

"When the Blue Knights approached us with the idea of the ride more than a decade ago, we realized it was an opportunity to reach out to a group who we believed would embrace an event that involved their passion for riding motorcycles," said Ann Grunert, executive director of Special Olympics Delaware. "They’ve not only embraced it, but what we’ve come to realize is that their true passion for participating is to support the 4,200 athletes who compete year-round in Special Olympics here in Delaware."

Last year, a record 1,000 bikers and 404 passengers raised $60,000. The event has raised more than $297,000 in its 11-year history.

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