Thunder Run enters year six

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – This year’s Dixie Thunder Run is expected to be three times better than the previous five, according to organizers.
Instead of the unusual one-day mass-motorcycle ride from the BancorpSouth Arena to Chunky River Harley Davidson in Meridian, this year’s run will include three rides and a motorcycle giveaway. The band 3 Doors Down, which is co-sponsoring the event, will host a benefit concert in Tunica on the final ride.
When Sgt. Tony Shackleford and members of the 155th Brigade Combat Team decided they wanted to host the run to help soldiers and their families, they had no idea how big the event would become.
“The first year we had a few hundred riders and raised about $12,000,” he said. “Last year we had over 4,000 riders. So this thing has grown. This is our biggest year as for planning and sponsorship. Being able to raffle off the bike is just icing on the cake.”
For $10 a ticket, people can enter to win a custom-made and painted motorcycle built by Bourget’s Bike World out of Arizona. The bike is worth $80,000. If you buy five tickets you will receive another ticket for free.
The money from the raffle tickets and the $25 per rider entrance fee will go to Operation First Response and the Better Life Foundation. In the six years of the Thunder Run, more than $100,000 has been raised for soldiers and their families.
The first ride will take place Memorial Day weekend. Riders will meet at the BancorpSouth Arena and ride to Southern Thunder Harley Davidson in Southhaven.
The second will be Sept. 3 from the BancorpSouth Arena to Chunky River Harley Davidson in Meridian.
The last ride will be held Nov. 19 and will go from Southern Thunder Harley Davidson in Southaven to Horseshoe Casino in Tunica for the 3 Doors Down concert and the bike giveaway.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.