York-Poquoson Sheriff and Deputies “Goes the Distance”
On May 16, 2009, York-Poquoson Sheriff, J. D. “Danny” Diggs along with four York-Poquoson Deputies and three Gloucester County Deputies completed the Redwing19, IBA (Iron Butt Association) Saddle Sore 1000, a 1000 mile motorcycle ride completed in less than 24 hours total time.
Redwing19 is named in memory of eleven Navy Seals and eight U.S. Army Aviators who lost their lives during Operation Redwing in June of 2005 in Afghanistan. The Redwing19 Special Warfare Family Fund was established to provide scholarship funds for the children of the servicemen who were killed. “We Go The Distance Because They Did Too” is the slogan adopted by Redwing19. The IBA is the sanctioning body of long distance motorcycle riding events such as the Saddle Sore 1000 which is a 1000 mile motorcycle ride that must be completed in less than 24 hours from time of start to time of finish.
The event raised over $40,000.00 for the scholarship fund and set two IBA World Records. One record was for the largest group IBA “Saddle Sore 1000” with 423 riders starting the ride and 409 riders completing the ride in the allotted time limit. The second IBA world record was for the largest IBA “Saddle Sore 1000” group ride within Virginia.
Sheriff Diggs and his team left Yorktown, VA on Friday May 15th and rode to Chantilly, VA for rider registration, a BBQ dinner and rider briefing. After getting some sleep the group arrived at the ride staging area at 5:00 AM on May 16th. The Sheriff and Deputies departed at 5:38 AM for the grueling 1000 mile ride. The group rode to the Richmond area via I95 then to the Hampton Roads area by way of I64. After passing Virginia Beach and traveling through Chesapeake, the team made their way to Suffolk, VA then Chester, VA via Emporia. After passing through Chester, the team traveled past Charlottesville and onto I81 south heading to Bristol, VA collecting gas receipts at each fuel stop about every 120 miles along the route. After an hour rest and meal in Bristol the team set out for their return to Chantilly. Upon departing Bristol, the Sheriff’s group of riders were on pace to complete the ride in 19 hours. Severe thunder storms and torrential rains slowed their progress, requiring the riders to take a brief respite at a rest area 20 miles outside of Bristol. Once the members set back out to Chantilly, torrential rains slowed their progress along with one deputy experiencing mechanical problems. The riders continued on toward the finish, albeit at a much slower speed until the rain subsided just past Staunton, VA. After a fuel stop in Harrisonburg, VA, the member who experienced the mechanical breakdown caught back up with the main group and all pressed on to complete the ride. Near the I81 and I66 interchange, the riders passed through a cold front that brought a 20 degree drop in temperature, strong winds, heavy rain and hail. The rain subsided about 10 miles west of Chantilly, The Sheriff and his group arrived back at the starting point in Chantilly soaking wet, cold and tired but happy having accomplished the ride with an hour and a half to spare. The members were presented their limited edition Saddle Sore 1000 Virginia Ride Pins and IBA Saddle Sore 1000 Word Record Certificates. Following the presentations the members returned to their motel for some much needed and deserved sleep.
Sheriff Diggs commented. “The discomfort we experienced during this ride pales in comparison to the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives in Operation Redwing, and the families they left behind as well as the sacrifices made by all of the men and women in the armed forces who protect the freedoms we enjoy that allow us to participate in events such as this”.
The riders are all members of Blue Knights VA X, a law enforcement motorcycle club. Several members of the Sheriff’s group are already making plans for a “Bun Burner 1500” ride next year.