Fifty-eight bikes, their riders clad in patch-covered black leather, traveled about 80 miles on Sunday, Aug. 11 and raised $1,800 towards a new building for the Saugerties Animal Shelter.
Starting at Cantine Field, the convoy rode in formation through Hunter, Prattsville and Windham on roads lined with purple wild verbena, white fleabane and blue chicory blooms, with clear, wide skies overhead. Ultimately, the group looped back on Route 32 to Opus 40, at which a benefit concert organized by town board hopeful Mike Ivino and town supervisor candidate Paul Andreassen raised an additional $8,000.
“I went out for a nice ride one day and said, ‘This is the route,’” said motorcade organizer Glen Thorne. “I tried to have some nice valley and hills and views.”
While more experienced riders led the group — “if we hammer past you, we hammer past you” — newer riders stayed in the back of the staggered formation. Motorcyclists from town were joined by others from New Paltz, Kingston, Poughkeepsie and even the Bronx, and by motorcycle clubs like Arthur’s Knights and the American Cruisers.
“You have to pay attention to the person in front and behind you,” said Chris Pinho, who said that he is known among his biker buddies as Skunk.
“I’m big on the animals, being an animal myself,” said Tony Silverman of Lomontville, who struggled to hear in the wake of the collective engine roar.
The midway point, the only Mobil station in Windham, has perhaps never seen so many bikers at once.
“I just wish I could be out there on my bike, what a good day for it,” said an employee of the pharmacy across the street who had come outside to ogle the group.
At Opus 40, Test Pilot Charlie, I Gotta Rock and local favorites Paul Luke Band entertained about 200 people, who ate at food trucks and drank beer and cider served by the Dutch Ale House. Money was raised through an entrance fee and a 50/50 raffle.
“You’ve seen the building up there, it’s been neglected for years,” said Andreassen, who added that he, Ivino and Legislator Joe Maloney dreamt up the concept. “The Paul Luke Band has been playing for 40 years, and we play at all the benefits. We thought, ‘What if the Paul Luke Band had a concert to raise money?’”
“We’re hoping to do this every year,” said Elly Monfett, who runs the animal shelter, which is in dire need of repair or replacement. “We’re hoping all of the money will go to the new shelter — we’ll scratch and scrimp and save for [operations at the current shelter].”
Monfett said that the fundraising help came as a surprise; after the town missed the deadline for a $500,000 grant to revamp the shelter last year, Monfett and Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund head Adele Zinderman, who is shelter-starter Marie Post’s granddaughter, have been largely on their own in fundraising efforts. Currently, they have hired their own grant writer to apply for the Companion Animal Capital Fund opportunity. The late Mary Bradford dedicated her estate toward the shelter as well. The entire project is estimated to cost $1.3 million.
Although the town had considered moving the location of the shelter, they’ve decided to keep it at the same address but move it further back into the woods, build hiking trails and create more space between the shelter and the transfer station. Volunteers have agreed to take down trees for the project free of charge. The shelter hopes to take up five acres of land; the current building will be used for supplies and storage.
A lot of community involvement
Alan Davis, Guy Monfett, Greg Weaver, Chris Callaghan and Mike Ivino have fixed the current shelter’s roof and made repairs in the meantime.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and we have a lot of volunteers,” said Zinderman. “It’s a blessing to be involved.”
Zinderman recounted a slew of small donations — $300 from a lemonade stand, $800 from a man adopting a dog who heard of the shelter’s plight — and pointed out the volunteers that had made the day’s event possible. Before leaving to return to the shelter, one volunteer said, “We gotta scoop poop and reload.”
“It’s tough to knock on everyone’s door, but for music, everyone gets out,” said Kevin McLaren of I Gotta Rock. “The shelter is in pretty deep need for funding. I’ve been involved with a lot of not-for-profits … music seems to be that thing that gets everyone out.”
Donations to the shelter, whether they are toward its current operations or for a new building, can be made out to the Saugerties Animal Welfare Fund and sent to Town Hall at 4 High St., Saugerties, NY 12477. The shelter is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily except Sunday and Monday. For more information, or to inquire about holding a fundraiser, call the shelter at (845) 679-0339.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story erroneously described Mike Ivino as the chief of the village fire department. The village fire chief is Christopher Wade; Ivino is the commissioner of the Centerville-Cedar Grove fire department.