Niles Burn Run returns this month for 20th ride

NILES – A chorus of motorcycle engines will be heard through downtown Niles as riders taking part in an annual ride next weekend.

The Niles Burn Run begins on Friday, June 25, and ends after the motorcycle ride takes off at noon on Sunday, June 27. The event will host music at Riverfront Park in Niles on Friday and Saturday, a cruise-in car, motorcycle and truck show on Saturday, dance fitness on Saturday, and the event’s first-ever arm-wrestling tournament.

Riders participating in the weekend festival and ride contribute to the Niles Burn Run’s goal to raise money to send children who have suffered from burn incidents to the Great Lakes Burn Camp to enjoy a carefree summer camp experience.

Niles Burn Run President Steve “Fuji” Adolph is excited to bring the event back after COVID-19 mandates kept it from being hosted in 2020.

“I’m hoping that with everyone having a year off, that I’m shooting to have 800 people [ride in the Niles Burn Run],” Adolph said. “It would be record breaking. It would be everything.”

In the past, Adolph said weather has been less than ideal on multiple occasions of the ride, sometimes lowering the rider participation to around 300. The lower number is still a “very good ride,” he said.

Last year would have marked the Niles Burn Run’s 20th anniversary ride. Without the ride taking place, 2021 marks its actual two-decade mark.

The event begins Friday, June 25, after vendors spend the day setting up throughout the park. Music begins at 5 p.m. Friday with The Oblates of Blues, followed at 7:30 p.m. by Duke Tumatoe. At 2 p.m. Saturday, The Erly will play.  At 5 p.m., The Toona’s will take the stage, followed by Fillmore’s Ladder at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, the main attraction will be the big ride, with “kickstands up” at noon as riders leave from Riverfront Park on a 50-mile ride around Berrien and Cass counties. The riders will be escorted by law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service providers.

The three-day event and ride benefit the Great Lakes Burn Camp. Though canceled for in-person camp last year and this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the camp will still be providing educational scholarships and online virtual camps.

According to the Great Lake Burn Camp for Kids website, there is typically one camp in the summer and one in the winter for burn-injured children.

“Camp provides a unique experience that promotes healing, self-esteem, confidence and general well-being for burn-injured children,” the website said. “Over the course of the week, the campers experience a traditional camp, only super-sized.”

Through fundraising efforts, like the Niles Burn Run, children attend camps and receive services without their families needing to worry about cost.

“It’s not just the summer camps,” Adolph said. “There’s still a need for the Burn Run to raise money.”

The Niles Burn Run was started around 20 years ago by Doug Myers. Myers was a member of the Niles Charter Township Fire Department and a motorcycle enthusiast. Myers grew the event from a one-day ride to a weekend event.

Visit NilesBurnRun.com for more information or to register for the Niles Burn Run ride.

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