ROCKY MOUNT - Several sports legends were all in one spot late Friday morning as Kyle Petty and his Annual Charity Tour made a "pit stop" at the Sheetz store on 220 South to gas up their motocycles.
NASCAR announcers from Speed and NBC were on hand along with racing legend Harry Gant. Former Washington Redskins running back George Rogers signed autographs along with former NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.
The Kyle Petty Charity Ride is in its 23rd year and crosses the country helping camp Victory Junction, which helps bring joy to the lives of thousands of seriously sick children. More than 8,175 riders have travelled nearly 12 million motorcycle miles since 1995, raising over $18 million for the camp.
Victory Junction was founded in honor of Adam Petty, who had the dream to open a camp to serve children with serious health issues. After Adam's sudden passing on May 12, 2000 from a crash during practice at Loudon New Hampshire, his family and friends got together to keep his legacy of helping sick kids. Victory Junction opened in 2004.
"It's about helping someone else and giving back," Walker said. "And I wanted to get involved."
Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins and Rocky Mount Town Council's John Snead welcomed Petty with a key to the town of Rocky Mount.
Petty says the reason he keeps doing the ride is for the kids. He took his time making sure they all had autographs and made it a point to speak to them directly about their conditions.
"That's what this is all about, sending kids to camp... hopefully we can send more and more kids," Petty said. "The ride's been responsible for sending 8,000 kids to camp. We see more and more kids, but you can never see enough."
Friday was the last day of the 1,200 mile, 7-day trek that started in Portland, Maine last Saturday, May 5. The route went south into Pennsylvania during days 2-3 and made it to Winchester at the end of day 5 on May 9. From Winchester, the ride went on to Hot Springs Thursday. Friday's "pit stop" in Rocky Mount was about halfway to Greensboro, NC.
Richard Petty was not in Rocky Mount Friday, but instead planned to meet the riders in Greensboro later Friday.