Riding for charity

In 24 years, the Bob Merriman Memorial Governor’s Run has raised more than $295,000 for the Holly Ridge Center’s Infant and Toddler Program.

Event coordinators hope to add to that total this weekend.

The Chapter B Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) of Bremerton is hosting the 25th annual Governor’s Run today and tomorrow at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

The Chapter B GWRRA raised $12,000 at last year’s event. Kitsap County matched Chapter B’s donation by adding $10,000 to the total, giving the Holly Ridge Center a $22,000 donation.

“We hope to at least match what we gave last year,” said Doug Clark, director of Chapter B GWRRA.

Entertainment at this year’s event includes oldies, rock and country singer “Dream Weaver,” country singer Katie Webster and rock band “Slightly Bent” might make an appearance at the Governor’s Run. Games, scenic rides, motorcycle drill team performances and a light parade and show are just a few of the events.

Chapter B GWRRA will give away three grand prizes including a new Honda Gold Wing GL1800 sponsored by Brother’s Power Sports, a new Harley FHLT Electra Glide Standard sponsored by Legend Harley-Davidson and a new basic white Bushtec Turbo trailer.

This year’s Governor’s Run has more than 50 sponsors and more than 40 vendors participating in the event.

“This has been a very hard and interesting year to try and get sponsors,” Clark explained.

Chapter B GWRRA members Jim Dutton and Jean Clark obtained 90 percent of the Governor’s Run sponsors, according to Clark. He is grateful to have such a great staff coordinating the event.

“Without the staff we’d be kind of hurting right now,” Clark said. “Mike White (Governor’s Run coordinator) and the staff have done an exceptional job.”

25th anniversary Governor’s Run coins commemorating the event’s anniversary will be sold for $11 each.

Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown and an official from the governor’s office will attend the charity event.

Bob Merriman founded the event in 1983 as the “Bremerton Run.” It was named the “Washington Governor’s Run” in 1985 by then-Governor Booth Gardner due to its huge success as a charity event. In 1998, the event was renamed the Bob Merriman Memorial Washington Governor’s Run in honor of the founder, Bob Merriman, who died in 1997.

“We originally started out with the premise that it would bring diverse motorcycle groups together,” Clark said. “It was a one-day event, but it was successful enough that it turned into a two-day event.”

After paying for event bills and the three grand prizes, excess funds raised at the Governor’s Run go to the Holly Ridge Center.

“The folks at Holly Ridge understand that this is our 25th year and we’re trying to give back to our participants,” Clark said.

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