Veterans’ motorcycle event rides into town July 4
COOKEVILLE – While the national Run For the Wall mission was cancelled in May due to the current health pandemic, COVID-19 cannot keep Run For the Wall riders away from Cookeville. The Midway Route of RFTW will host “Tour of Tennessee: A Run For the Wall Reunion,” starting in Memphis July 2, Nashville July 3 and making Cookeville their grand finale, arriving Saturday, July 4 at 5 p.m. CT.
The reunion will be the first of its kind for the group who traditionally embarks each year on a 10-day, cross-country mission, “Riding For Those Who Can’t.” Their mission is to call attention to prisoners-of-war and those missing-in-action, to honor those killed-in-action from all wars and to support all United States military personnel around the globe.
With their arrival time of 5 p.m. CT being so near Red, White & Boom festivities at the Putnam County Fairgrounds, a new route into town has been established to ensure the 80+ riders have a safe and welcoming arrival.
Riders will enter town heading west on Hwy. 70/E. Spring Street (from Hwy. 111), veering right onto Broad Street, turning right onto N. Washington at the Putnam County Courthouse square, then left onto First Street with arrival at the Leslie Town Centre for a private dinner.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the unofficial welcoming reception that has often taken place in the parking area outside the Leslie Town Centre will not take place this year. Social distancing protocols are being enforced for the health of the riders as well as local residents. The parking lot access will be blocked and is not open to the public.
“We could not be more honored to welcome this special group back to Putnam County, especially on Independence Day,” said Molly Brown, executive director for the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. “Due to recommended social-distancing guidelines, we will not be able to welcome them with the hugs and handshakes like we have for the past six years, but we hope to see a strong showing of love and support from the sidewalks along their entry route.”
“For local residents who want to show our special guests the warm welcome they deserve, we encourage lining the streets around 4:30 to 5 p.m. CT along East Broad from the Spring/Broad split to the square and along North Washington and First Street,” added Brown.
In addition to hosting their private dinner, the visitors’ bureau has also coordinated with city and county officials and law enforcement to provide special parking on Veterans Drive for these veteran riders to view the Red, White & Boom fireworks show later that evening.