The Southern route of the Heroes Ride Annual Bike Tour, the largest single annual fundraiser for The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, was supposed to originate in DeForest this year.

Plans have changed with the coronavirus pandemic still raging on.

Liz Hamilton, marketing and social media manager for The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, said, “Because of COVID-19 concerns, participants from around that area have decided to complete their miles virtually.”

The Highground is located in Clark County, four miles west of Neillsville. It is a manned veterans memorial park, spanning 155 acres with a museum and gift shop on site. It’s a tribute to the fallen and honors survivors, their service and their sacrifices. The park, plaza and trails are currently open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The bike tour is in its 36th year, and the Southern Route offers a 185-mile ride between July 25 and Aug. 2. With the event going to a virtual format, the time and location is now of each rider’s choice.

Riders are encourage to take a picture of themselves on their rides and send it to The Highground via Facebook Messenger or via text to Hamilton at (715) 308-4449.

The Highground Heroes Ride Annual Bike Tour t-shirts are available to all participants and will be sent out to everyone after the ride. A short ceremony is planned for riders on Sunday, Aug. 2. Those attending should plan to ride in at 11:30 a.m. for the noon ceremony.

Originally, the route was supposed to start at the DeForest park and ride at 5012 Elephant Trail off Exit 126, County Road V, from Interstate 90/94/39. Breaks were going to take place at Club 51 in DeForest and the BP Gas Station in Poynette, among other places that first Friday.

For more information on the virtual ride, go to thehighgroundheroesride.com.

Last year’s event started closer to Madison.

Details on next year’s ride haven’t been established yet. However, according to Hamilton, DeForest and Madison, or somewhere between the two communities, are being considered for starting points for 2021.

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