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WYA ‘Ride for Youth’ successful, despite rocky start

Jung Le rides in on his prize-winning, horror-themed motorcycle at the Washington Youth Academy’s first-ever “Ride for Youth” May 31 at Pendergast Park. - Steven DeDual/Staff photo
Jung Le rides in on his prize-winning, horror-themed motorcycle at the Washington Youth Academy’s first-ever “Ride for Youth” May 31 at Pendergast Park.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/Staff photo

The Washington Youth Academy’s first-ever “Ride for Youth” had an ominous beginning when Jung Le, the first-place winner of the “Cadet’s Choice” competition, wrecked his $40,000 horror-themed motorcycle.

He was leaving Pendergast Park to fuel up before the long ride to JR’s Hideaway in Belfair.

Le was not badly injured in the crash, but frowned when a comment was made that insurance should fix his bike.

“If I had it,” Le said. “This is only the fourth time I have brought the bike out. I didn’t think I needed it.”

More than 50 bikers showed up at Pendergast Park to have their bikes judged by the cadets from the academy and to take part in the ride.

Retired Texas Air National Guard Col. Bill Pettit, director of the Washington Youth Academy, spoke to the group to thank them for attending the event.

“Thank you all for coming out and supporting the fine, 83, gung-ho cadets at the Washington Youth Academy who, as of this day, have 26 and a wake-up to go before they graduate from the program,” he said. “These young men and women have dedicated the last 16 weeks of their lives to turning around their lives.”

John Pakele, father of one of the cadets and organizer of the event, took the microphone to thank Rottweiler Bikes, the company that sponsored the ride, and to offer his condolences for one of its owners, Christopher Hicks, who died May 21 at 24 years old. Pakele asked the crowd to bow their heads and observe a moment of silence.

“All right, that’s good,” he said. “Chris didn’t want a long one anyway. He’s with us.”

Dave “Shadow” Raymond, road captain for the Warrior Brotherhood Veterans Motorcycle Club, helped the group get things organized and led the riders through a final checklist of items to prepare for the ride.

The “Cadet’s Choice” contest yielded three winners: Craig Brubaker took third, Mike Coldron was named second and Jung Le was awarded the top prize.

Once the trophies were given away and pictures were taken, the bikers took to the road for their journey through Seabeck, Dewatto and eventually Belfair.

“I wish we had more riders,” Pakele said. “But this is good for our first one. There will be more people next time.”

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