At American Eagle Harley-Davidson. Registration 9:00. KSU 10:30
This third annual event promises to be the biggest yet in many ways. So, whether you ride or not, come on out to American Eagle Harley-Davidson on September 12. Enjoy the day, visit with veteran and active-duty troops, enjoy the amazing international-touring tribute band, Texas Flood and learn more about Boot Campaign. Let’s honor them with Texas-sized donations in support of our troops and Boot Campaign’s missions.
Before the movies, Lone Survivor and American Sniper, Operation Rock the Boots event founder and coordinator, Steven Barker, met Navy Seals Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle and others such as Marine Staff Sergeants Joey Jones and Marcus Burleson. The opportunity to meet these wounded warriors and hear them share their stories came at a Boot Campaign event called Boot’n and Shoot’n. Title sponsor for this event was Benchmark Mortgage where Steven Barker worked at the time.
Stewart Hunter, a founding partner at Benchmark Mortgage was introduced to Boot Campaign by one Benchmark’s Branch Managers, Andrew Paul, (a Navy Seal)Stewart believed so much in what the Boot Girls were doing with Boot Campaign, the Benchmark Mortgage sponsored fundraising events, Boot’n and Shoot’n and Operation Home Giveaway came to life. Stewart then challenged all Benchmark employees to step outside the box … donate more and do more.
Highly motivated by Stewart and inspired by hearing the warriors’ stories firsthand, Steven was not in a position to donate more so he set out to do more…to raise money and awareness in support of the Boot Campaign’s missions. With his experience of music and venue promoting and having friends in bands and others that were motorcycle riders, Operation Rock the Boots was born.
Last year’s event attracted over 125 bikes for a 90+ mile escorted ride that resulted in many great comments about the route that went around Taya and Chris Kyle’s hometown of Midlothian, Joe Pool Lake and the DFW National Cemetery. Local ABATE chapters, especially Denton ABATE provided ride registration support and were instrumental in the event’s success. Over 1000 people were in attendance throughout the day and were entertained by two bands: Rastus, a classic rock cover band and Little Skynyrd, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. Two amazing renditions of our national anthem were performed, one by Dallas guitar legend, John Michael Soria and the other by Carlos Pulido of local band, Born and Raised. As host emcee, Steven Foster (now Boot Campaign Ride Coordinator) kept things moving and special guest Marine Ssgt. Joey Jones had people laughing and crying at the same time. A very emotional moment took place as Joey met the parents of the late Sgt. Derek Holgersen, US Army HHC, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Platoon “ROGUE”, call sign Rogue One. Sgt. Holgersen died May 18, 2012 and was from Argyle, Texas.
The late Sgt. Derek Holgersen is being honored at this year’s Operation Rock the Boots where, again, several special guests will be in attendance. We never know what other surprise guests will show up due to costs and/or comfort concerns … but there’s always a surprise or two. You will not want to miss this if you have a patriotic bone in your body!
Started by five women from Texas known as the Original Boot Girls, the Boot Campaign began as a fun photo op and turned into a national movement funding more than $2 million into the military community each year. Established in 2009, the Boot Campaign is a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to promoting patriotism for America and our military community; raising awareness of the unique challenges service members face during and post-service; and providing assistance to military personnel, past and present, and their families. Retail sales of combat boots, apparel and mission-focused merchandise, general public donations and corporate sponsorships fund programs that support military families. These efforts extend to all generations of military personnel who endure significant physical, emotional and circumstantial hardships resulting from their service and sacrifice.
When they come back, WE GIVE BACK!