Final Mike & Heidi Memorial Ride 

11 months ago

OAKFIELD, Maine — The 10th  annual “Mike and Heidi Memorial Ride” in memory of Mike Kitchen and Heidi Pratt, took place on  Saturday, July 15. Organizers started the day with concerns about weather, but those concerns were quickly alleviated as perfect riding weather arrived just in time. The early morning concerns about heavy rain kept a few riders away, but the turnout was still strong with about 30 motorcycles.

Ken Bustard, president of the Board of Directors and event organizer, commented “The final ride was, by all means, a success and everything we hoped for. While the number of bikes and antique autos were much less, that is really only one component of this event thus the overall success was not lessened. The lobster feed was a big hit, and our auction was the most successful in all 10 years, raising approximately $10,000.”

Registration opened at 8 a.m. at the Oakfield Community Center. A safety briefing and presentations was held at 9:45 a.m. and motorcycle riders along with a few antique autos left at 10:15 a.m.   

Mark Abplanalp, left, of Orrington and Ken Bustard of Bucksport discuss the ride route with State Trooper Todd Stetson. (Courtesy photo)

Board members presented $1,000 donations to the Ark Animal Sanctuary in Houlton, Oakfield Pines and Northern Maine Comm College for the scholarship endowment.  Several people also brought donations of kitty litter, bleach, etc. for the Ark Animal Sanctuary.  

An auction was held at 1 p.m. as well as drawing of raffle tickets toward prize baskets. “This was our most exciting auction in all 10 years,” explained Bustard. “There were many personalized, hand crafted items with reference to Mike and Heidi. We had a mosaic portrait, a high quality sweatshirt, hand bags, a photo of their motorcycle trip through New York, etc. We also received an auction donation of what is easily the biggest item in all 10 years, bringing in $3,000 itself. Carl Bustard of Rockland and Torri Bates of Smyrna tag teamed to put together a package consisting of a customized fire pit, a cord of wood, grill and Adirondack chairs. It was just incredible!“

This year’s event marks the 10thh anniversary of Mike and Heidi’s premature death. “This 2023 event was a celebration of sorts,” explained Bustard. “These past 10 years have been a healing period, and for some that healing process will continue perhaps for years or a lifetime. Mike and Heidi were very special, and the traumatic way in which their lives were taken has left a scar that for many will never totally heal.“

The Mike and Heidi Community Fund, a public charity nonprofit under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code, is overseen by a board of directors. Board members include Heidi Pratt’s son, Paul Suiter of Portland. Additional board members are Joe and Becky McLaughlin of Limestone, Jerri Russell and Shannon Lloyd of Oakfield, Ken and Pearl Bustard of Bucksport and Jill Bustard of Merrill. Heidi’s sister, Brenda Hersey of Oakfield was a founding Board member, but unfortunately lost her struggle with cancer this past year.   

 Numerous individuals and businesses have supported this  event each year with monetary donations and sponsorship of raffle baskets.  

Joe McLaughlin, board member for Mike and Heidi Comm Fund, presents a $1,000 check to Griffin Goins of Northern Maine Community College toward the Mike and Heidi Scholarship Endowment fund. (Courtesy photo)

“We have made numerous donations to the Ark Animal Sanctuary, Oakfield Pines, a Christmas event, Turkey distribution, as well as establishment of a scholarship endowment just shy of $20,000 that will provide an annual scholarship for Northern Maine students into perpetuity,” stated Bustard. “NMCC staff will oversee the scholarship and ensure it is presented each year.  We are very pleased with their support and being able to partner with them.”

Bustard further explained, “Since the ride will no longer take place, the Board of Directors will meet this fall to discuss the future of the nonprofit as well as use of remaining funds. We just cannot stress enough our appreciation for family, neighbors and friends who have been a part of this 10-year journey. It truly has been a community success.”