The Long Beach Long Riders Seek Volunteers

The Long Beach Long Riders are looking for a few good men and women to help out with chase vehicle duties on their charity motorcycle ride from North Carolina to the USITT convention in Long Beach, CA this March. The fundraising ride is scheduled to leave Boone, NC on Thursday, March 11 and arrive in Long Beach on Tuesday, March 16. If you, your school, your company, or your organization would be interested in supplying a chase vehicle for the ride, for all or part of the route, please contact either Greg Williams at [email protected], or Bill Sapsis at [email protected].

Duties are light to (hopefully) non-existent. They will provide you the city and hotel information, you drive at your own pace and stop to help or haul if any of the riders have a problem that they can't solve on the road. They would prefer a van that would hold a bike, or a car pulling a suitable trailer (and there's a good chance the riders could provide the trailer, if you've got the towing package).

In addition to their undying gratitude and the knowledge that you're helping out on a tremendous project, they would also throw in comped or reduced-price rooms on the way to Long Beach, and buy you a frosty beverage or two of your choice and age-specific legality.

The event has a website, promoting the ride and the charity, a message board, route information, and downloadable flyers that you can print and put in high-traffic areas near coffee pots, sign-in sheets, callboard, etc. They want to make everyone aware that this is one of the Special Projects, over and above the regular donations solicited in New York on behalf of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA). So spread the word for a worthy cause. Tell your friends, enemies, lovers, ex-lovers, ex-lovers' new lovers, everybody!

If you haven’t heard about the Long Beach Long Riders, here is probably more than you ever wanted to know, but it is all for a very worthy cause, so I strongly suggest that you read on.

The Big Idea for the Long Beach Long Riders arose at the 2003 USITT conference when Greg Williams casually suggested to Bill Sapsis that they might bike to next year's conference in California. Sapsis joked that they could decorate his booth space with their parked bikes and in fact could even charge others for the privilege.

At the same conference, Michael Banvard and Williams were talking about the Iron Butt ride that Williams had completed the summer prior and Banvard mentioned that he'd love to do an Iron Butt at some point. Only problem there was that he couldn't figure out how to keep the tools on his UtiliKilt from clanging against his Iron Butt whilst working backstage during quiet moments...

Well, get a bunch of theatre technicians with limited funds standing around talking bikes, gear, and a free long weekend and it takes no time at all to turn it into a three act production complete with a brilliant and only slightly eccentric cast, props, designers, and the best scenery this country has to offer. Eric MacAfee of J. R. Clancy, suggested turning it into a fundraiser and from there the whole plan fell into place. The core group of nine riders would ride from Boone, NC to Long Beach, CA arriving in time for the USITT conference March 16. They would donate everything they raised to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The motley crew of riders include: Michael Banvard, Pat Barnes, Maurice ‘Moe’ Conn, Cris ‘Brooklyn’ Dopher, Alice Neff, Wayne Rasmussen, Bill ‘Uncle Bill’ Sapsis, Loren ‘Grits’ Schreiber, and Greg Williams.

The ride begins on Thursday, March 11, 2004 in Boone and ends in Long Beach on Tuesday, March 16. The motorcycles of choice for this journey are four Harley Davidsons, one Yamaha, two Hondas, and a BMW. The average age of the riders is in the mid 40's.

Mission Statement
It is the goal of the Long Beach Long Riders to raise money and remind those in the entertainment industry that the needs of organizations like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids do not diminish even in difficult economic times. Many times in the past the people who work in the spotlight have heeded the call to serve with benefit performances, celebrity auctions, and similar functions. Now, the technicians and designers who work backstage, believe it's now their turn.

They also want to have some fun on the way.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) is the nation's leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization. BC/EFA is the on-going, committed response from the American Theatre community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of this community, BC/EFA raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States. Since its founding in 1988, BC/EFA has raised over $50 million for critically needed services for people with AIDS, HIV, or HIV-related illnesses.

Check out the Long Beach Long Riders cross-country fundraiser for BC/EFA at

They have a message board on the website and you should check out some of the stories, especially some of Loren 'Grits' Schrieber's damn funny observations, including his Haz-Mat situation at Home Depot.

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