The seventh annual Sedalia Firefighters Local 103 Memorial Ride got off to a great start from Liberty Park Saturday morning with about 200 motorcyclists taking part to help fund the next phase of the memorial.

According to Battalion Chief Matt Irwin, the event had 123 preregistered riders, "but a lot of people rush in to get registered on the day of the event, and we probably had 60 register so far this morning, so we're looking at about 200 riders," he said, adding that the first 100 registrants received a free commemorative pin. Additional pins were for sale for $5.

"We're trying to garner up enough money to start phase two of the memorial, which is an opposing wall. The money also goes to poor college students in this area, we give four scholarships," Irwin said, noting that the ride is the only fund-raiser for the year for the group.

The number of riders has remained steady over the seven-year life of the event, he noted.

This was not Annie Byrd's first Firefighters Memorial Ride. "I've done it for several years now. It's for a good cause, and it's just great to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. I try to do it every year if I can," Byrd said.

Mike Closser has only missed one of the last seven memorial rides. His reason for riding is to help with the Fire Department and honor those who have fallen. Closser, of Warsaw, rides with his wife Tracy.

The riders, escorted to the city limits by Sedalia Police, Sedalia Fire and Pettis County Fire personnel, made their way of out Sedalia via Route U and traveled to Cole Camp for their first stop. From there, they traveled F Highway to H and later stopped at the Fraternal Order of Eagles. The cyclists then made their way on B Highway to W and on to 52 Highway. The route then took them to 135 and on to M Highway towards Smithton for the third stop in the Smithton High School Parking lot. The riders left Smithton via Overstreet Road and onto 50 Highway, where they returned to Sedalia and ended up at Dickie Doo BBQ for awards and celebration.