2nd annual memorial ride, walk to honor slain couple

9 years ago

OAKFIELD, Maine — It has been two years since the small community of Oakfield was stunned by the deaths of two beloved residents. To help celebrate their lives, the second annual Memorial Ride and Walk, remembering Mike Kitchen and Heidi Pratt, has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19.

On Sept. 23, 2013, Kitchen, 51, and Pratt, 49, were killed in their Oakfield home before it was set ablaze. A 32-year-old Houlton man, Matthew Davis, was charged with those murders. He has remained in prison, awaiting trial, for the past two years.

A planning committee chaired by Ken Bustard met recently to work out the details. The group consisted of Ken and Pearl Bustard, Brenda and Keith Hersey, Jerry  Crandall and Shannon Lloyd.

Registration will begin at Merrill Millstream Park beginning at 8 a.m. Some riders will rally at Houlton Power Sports between 8-9 a.m. then ride as a group to join the event in Merrill.

This year, the North Country Cruisers will also support the event.

“What is especially exciting, is the ability of some, without motorcycles, to travel the route in a vintage automobile,” said Ken Bustard. “This will be limited to members of North Country Cruisers participating and available seating.”

The registration fee is $10 per rider. Participants will receive a raffle ticket for several surprise raffle items as well as a barbeque of Italian sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and desserts.  A patch, which is traditional for the motorcycle community, has been developed and will be available for purchase. 

Proceeds from this event will go into the “Mike and Heidi Memorial Fund.” This fund is administered by the Merrill Millstream Park Committee. It provides kids’ events at MMP.  For example, it will pay for the goodie bags handed out to close to 100 kids during the annual “Christmas in The Park.” 

Also, this past year a scholarship was awarded to a graduating senior from Southern Aroostook Community School and Houlton High School, with the intent of this being an annual event as long as funding allows.

An opening ceremony and a safety briefing will be held at 10 a.m. Riders will depart at 10:20 a.m. for an approximately two hour loop, a route often ridden by Pratt and Kitchen. There will be a 15-minute break at the Irving station in Sherman. Motorcycle riders will be followed by members of the North Country Cruisers.

“Depending on the turnout, each group may travel in opposite directions to minimize the traffic line,” Bustard said.

Riders will gather back at Merrill Mill Stream Park at approximately 12:30 p.m. There will also be 10 “Raffle Baskets” donated by various individuals and businesses. Tickets will be sold on these throughout the morning and the raffle held at approximately 1:30 p.m. Throughout this period, smaller items will be raffled with the tickets handed out at registration. 

Bustard said many people have already expressed an interest in helping. Those people can assist by attending this event; provide a dessert; help increase the Mike and Heidi Memorial Fund by purchasing raffle tickets and/or a patch; make a financial donations; and/or serve as a volunteers to help with traffic, food during the day.   

Those wishing to help can contact Bustard at 659-2018, or by email at accountingcoach@gmail.com, or by sending a message on Facebook.