About Us

We are gearing up for the 10th  Annual Ridin Hawg Wild motorcycle ride for 2018. Ride will be on Saturday April 28, 2018..Please continue to  HELP US HELP SAMMY!!!

Ridin’ Hawg Wild started as “Ride for Autism” in 2009 by Mandy Ellis.
Here’s her story:
“First, I’d like to thank all of our Ride supporters; there are lots of them. From family to friends, to volunteers to participants; I love and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and will do!
As a single mom of two wonderful children, Melany (19) and Sammy  (16), I struggle. Living with Autism is tough. For Sammy, its all he knows. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve sat by his bed as he sleeps and prayed for God to take it all away. Sometimes I simply pray for relief, or a chance to be in his head for just one day. Every child with Autism is different, but yes they all struggle with a few similar things; absent social skills and lots of structure, just to name a couple. Parents need one thing from you…. An open heart to listen. That’s all. We don’t need you to fix it, we need you to love us through it.
In 2009, I was working a part time job at a local bar in Lexington NC called Big Rock Tavern. My son Sammy was 9 years old at the time. I felt like I finally had a handle on this Autism thing (boy was I wrong) and was eager to figure out how I could make a difference. I researched organizations and chose Autism Speaks for fundraising for several reasons. Their core values, efforts and tools to help families are useful and are exactly what drew me to get involved.

My next decision was what to do and where to have this fundraiser. My part time employer had bike nights at the time and I knew some amazing folks that came in to enjoy a night out with friends! After asking the owner, Sean Smith, if he would support the Ride at Big Rock Tavern, he agreed! I quickly got started planning to hold the Ride in October that year. When the first bike rolled in, my heart filled with joy!

You see, there is ALOT that goes in to putting together any fundraising event. Its tough. I have learned so much and made many mistakes, but when my family goes through a bad day/time with Sammy, that helps me remember why and how this all came to fruition.

In 2010, I was eager to make our Ride bigger and better! I approached the Barbecue Festival director, Stephanie Saintsing Nasat, to inquire if one of the official events involved motorcycles. She said they currently didn’t have any motorcycle events and was eager to help our cause. This is the year our Ride blossomed and became “Ridin’ Hawg Wild”!

After our 2016 Ride we came together to discuss ways to improve or change our Ride (as we do every year) and decided to make a significant change for 2017. For the past 8 years we have raised money for Autism Speaks. Everyone has been so generous to support our Ride and Autism Speaks as a result. With that being said, the whole reason this Ride started was to spread awareness for Autism and for a very special little boy that was diagnosed with Autism at age 4. As Sammy has gotten older, his needs have changed significantly, and due to this our committee has decided to support him through the Ride’s fundraising efforts. Moving forward all Ride proceeds will help with Sammy’s therapy needs, medication support, behavioral supports and adaptive care. — Over the past 7 years we have been blessed with a significant increase in participants and sponsors. I can’t thank everyone enough! There are some big hearts in our country!

I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, without every last volunteer, Ridin’ Hawg Wild would not exist.

Thank you for walking through this journey with my family and thank you for loving us through it.

I would love to hear your story and will do anything in my power to be your listening heart.”

Help Us Help Sammy

-Mandy Ellis

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