The bikers will depart from AHS and ride to Pine Log, White, Hamilton Crossing and Kingston elementary schools and finally return to the high school. At each stop, riders will draw a card and the participant with the best hand at the end of the five stops wins $100. Once the run is complete, hot dogs will be available for donation in the cafeteria, along with a bake sale and raffle items.
Buddy Bagley, Adairsville City Council member, was inspired to begin the ride three years ago while in a local Waffle House.
“My server was sharing that her daughter wanted to be in the band but she couldn’t afford the band fees. I thought to myself, ‘Let’s see what we can do about that,’” Bagley said.
In the past two years, the event has averaged 25 riders and generated between $4,000 and $5,000. The entrance fee is $20 for bikers and $10 for passengers and is donated entirely to the band boosters.
Kerry Bryant, AHS band director, said the fundraiser is very timely. The band operates partly on the booster’s general fund, which makes its money from the concession sales at home football games.
Bryant said, “Our coffers are very low right now because we have not had any home games yet. However, this time of year requires us to spend money on items necessary to put together a marching program. Buddy really stepped up and took us under his wing. This fundraiser gives us the financial boost we need.
“Also, to buy new uniforms can be very expensive depending on how ornate they are. Sometimes it can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000. We are hoping to save enough to at least have a 10 to 20 percent deposit when the time comes to order new ones.”
The 89-member marching Tiger band will perform “Styx Hitz” this season. The show features Styx songs including “Renegade,” a medley of “Lady” and “Babe” and finally “Fooling Yourself.”
Jennifer Carter, president of the AHS Band Boosters, noticed a difference in the band fees required at the beginning of the school year since Bagley began the fundraiser and Bryant became the band director.
“Several years back the band fees were around $350 but now they have decreased to $295 since the uniform fee is much less,” Carter said. “This event helps us tremendously and a significant portion of the proceeds from the fundraiser will be set aside and used to purchase a certificate of deposit. We plan to use the CD to purchase uniforms in the future. We just purchased them last year so we won’t need new ones for at least four to six years, which is normally the life span for band uniforms.”
Carter, whose daughter is a member of the Tiger band, believes band is an indispensable element for the growth of the students as well as the community.
Carter said, “As a parent, band has been essential to my daughter’s focus. She stays busy with practice and making time to learn her music, which has taught her to prioritize and learn time management. Band has given these students a place to build relationships and to learn leadership.
“It benefits the community in that young musicians are being trained and can share that with others at local churches or community events. It enriches all of us, not just the students.”
Bagley hopes the event will continue to increase in riders and funds raised every year.
“It is really important to help the students participate in things like band,” Bagley said. “We need to show them we are interested in them and their future. Hopefully, having constructive things to do will help them stay away from bad choices.”
For more information or to sign up, email Bagley at firstname.lastname@example.org.