More than $4,000 was raised in record-setting fashion during the Seventh Annual David Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike a Thon that led up to the Sept. 23 Purdue homecoming football game.
The 3-day riding event that started at 1:30 p.m., Sept. 20, concluded near the Purdue belltower as undergraduates, alumni, parents and guests watched Candy and Steve Feltner complete the last five minutes on two stationary bikes. There were activities that preceded the bike a thon and others that were held in conjunction with it during what was termed, Abilities Week at Purdue.
The events started on Monday, Sept. 18 with “Pie a Pi Kapp” that allowed friends and passers-by to “pie” selected fraternity members for $1 to $4 in donations dependent on the concoction of the “pie.” Ingredients could include whipped cream, various syrups or even ketchup. The “pie” portion of the week had 20 brothers participating and raised $365.
The ride was subject to sometimes 90+ degree temperatures and 100-degree heat indexes from Sept. 20 to 23. Accordingly, two afternoons of snow cones sales in various flavors for $1 each were popular with 190 of them sold at the bike a thon site.
Spread over the three days of cycling, 16 sorority teams competed for distance during 25 minutes riding time. Most teams featured five riders for 5 minutes each, but the winning team only had four.
Zeta Tau Alpha won the competition with 9.6 miles measured in 25 minutes. The team also had the highest recorded speed of all participants once reaching 46 mph. Alpha Chi Omega took second place with 9.07 miles while achieving one stretch of 38 mph.
Delta Zeta finished third with 8.67 miles while Kappa Delta was next with 8.61. Alpha Chi Omega rounded out the Top 5 with 8.30 miles ridden.
The sorority competition raised $650 in entrance fees and additional contributions.
The biking site took cash donations around the clock, too, and raised $1,045. Brothers who rode committed to raising at least $10 per hour and the 115 brothers and associate members raised $1,330 that way.
And finally, Ability Experience CEO Basil Lyberg and chapter alumnus Mike McBride did a virtual hour-long ride in Charlotte on Facebook Live. They raised funds in a telethon format. During their hour the two personally raised $300 and another $300 in donations were made online to the Purdue chapter’s annual fund-raising page.
Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students for fraternity, sorority and cooperative life at Purdue, was one of the riders. Even Purdue President Mitch Daniels stopped by the sign the pledge board and pose for photos with riders.
“I’m so proud of what we achieved during our Abilities Week – raising more money than I had expected for people with disabilities,” chapter Ability Experience chairman Adam Kunovski said. “What impressed me the most about the whole week was all the support that I received from people and that’s what really made our Abilities Week so successful.”
As two riders participated around the clock, the chapter also had someone sit at a donation table explaining what they were doing – raising money and awareness for Ability Experience, the philanthropic outreach program of the national fraternity. Money raised assists people with disabilities locally and nationally.
“The brothers and associate members were such a huge help in setting up and participating in all the events throughout the week and the sorority members were very competitive,” Kunovski said. “The Ability Experience CEO Basil Lyberg and our very own Mike McBride reached out and did a live stream biking shift to help us with our fund-raising efforts, which was a huge surprise.”
In the end, the fraternity raised $4,200 for The Ability Experience through the event. Calendar year to date, the Purdue chapter has raised just a couple hundred dollar shy of $20,000. The annual chapter fund-raising period ends on Dec. 31, so it is possible the chapter will top $20,000 for the second time ever.
The bike a thon drew to a close at the fraternity house after the ride ended. Kunovski thanked the participants as did the Feltner family. Lyberg also recorded a video message praising the achievements of the chapter through this event as well as others held throughout the year.
“We just want to thank you for all your hard work and everything you’ve done during the Abilities Week,” Lyberg said in his video presentation. “It’s been so awesome to follow along with social media with how you’ve involved the community, folks from the university, the sorority competitions, the snow cones – which looked fantastic. Just what you put together to raise funds for The Ability Experience to be able to watch that really means the world (to us).”