The legendary Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride has officially ended after 20 years according to its founder Bill Carson. The ride took place annually in September and Carson, who is the original founding member, made the announcement on Friday, Jan. 10, on behalf of the entire Board of Directors.
“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of the Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride, I want to announce that we are at the End of The Trail for our annual charity motorcycle ride. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for 20 great years and your support of our organization as we remembered those ancestors forcibly removed from their homelands in the east to what is now present day Oklahoma.”
The ride originated in downtown Chattanooga, TN., and has raised tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to the children of Native American heritage; there were also many historical markers placed along the route.
The ride has experienced its fair share of controversy which, unfortunately, will now see a halt to those much needed scholarship funds for the children.
It appears the beginning of the end occurred a few years back when a handful of the Alabama members of the Board of Directors strived to remove Carson and some of his supporters from the board.
Russ Brown is a noted motorcycle attorney and activist who has championed motorcyclist rights over the past forty years; he commented, “I was saddened by the news that such a great event would be no more. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to do what Bill Cason and his team did year after year. Congratulations on twenty great years.”
Reports state that Carson had the robust support of the City of Chattanooga, the motorcycle media, and Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson; he also made it a mission to stick as close to the original Trail as possible. However, the constant hassles he incurred by trying to secure law enforcement cooperation and permits in Alabama was the ultimate factor ending the historic ride.
We salute Bill Carson and the entire team for a robust twenty year ride that raised countless thousands for children and broadened awareness of a sad time in American history.