Hello all my ADVRIDER friends.. I have came up with an idea with the help of KdxKawboy and Faroli to beneifit RiderDown and Chris Blais. let me start by giving a little history lesson. do you remember this thread?: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=137824 Here is my concept based on some Nevada history, where most of the Best in The Desert races take place and where Chris injured himself. if your remember the thread above, we mentioned this bit of history. Below is the story of the "sack of flour" One of the important aspects of the American Civil War is that it was a truly national conflict. Virtually every sector of American society was touched by it in one way or another. The devastation of war was most visible in the areas where the armies marched, camped and fought- but it was felt too in the communities north and south who sent their young men off to fight and endured the economic impacts of modern industrialized warfare. Even in the far western states and territories, seemingly separated by geography from the war’s main theaters, patriots of both the Union and the Confederacy worked to further their cause. Soldiers were recruited, funds were raised, and political maneuvers were made. Political activity, however, was about more than just patriotism in the 19th Century. Prior to the advent of such diversions as professional sports, cinema and television, politics was one of the only forms of visual entertainment available to most people. When not staging elections to fill governmental posts, American men held boisterous elections for everything from positions in volunteer fire companies to officer’s commissions in militia units. In small towns even those not running for an office usually knew somebody who was, and their support sometimes took strange and amusing forms. Such was the case in the little mining town of Austin, Nevada Territory in April of 1864. An election for mayor was being held, and a shopkeeper named Reuel C. Gridley, a Democrat, bet a Republican friend of his that the Democratic candidate would win the race. Apparently deciding that a public spectacle should result from a public election, the men decided to put their dignity on the line, and the wager was made that the loser of the bet would carry a fifty-pound sack of flour from the towns of Austin to Clifton, a distance of about one and a quarter miles. So, it was this Reuel C. Gridley who bet his friend that that the Democratic mayoral candidate would prevail in the Spring election in Austin. As it happened, the Republican won, and, true to the terms of the wager, on the morning of April 20th, 1864 Gridley appeared on the street with a 50 lb. sack of flour, decorated with American flags and bunting, and in a grand parade which included a band playing The Battle Hymn of The Republic, he hoisted the bag onto his shoulder and started to march amidst the cheers and jeers of the entire excitement-starved populace of Austin. It took about an hour for Gridley to carry his burden the requisite 1.25 miles to Clifton, and upon arrival the procession took refuge in a local saloon. Over liquid refreshments, the question of what to do with the flour was raised, and Gridley, an army veteran himself, made a suggestion: “This crowd of people has had its fun at my expense; let us see now who will do most for the sick and wounded soldiers. We will put this sack of flour up at auction, and sell it, with the understanding that, whoever the purchaser may be, he shall pay the amount bid, and give the flour back to be sold again for the benefit of the Sanitary Commission.” The crowd roared its approval, and the auction began. Gridley himself won the first round with a bid of $300, but the sack was put up for symbolic auction again and again. Competition flared as individuals and groups pooled their resources to outbid one-another. By the end of the day a total of almost $5,000, a small fortune in 1860’s terms, had been brought in. These proceeds were sent to the United States Sanitary Commission, a precursor of the Red Cross, which raised private funds to provide medical care for soldiers in the United States Army. Raising funds for the Sanitary Commission in California and Nevada was nothing new. Most famously the Unitarian Reverend Thomas Starr King toured California during the first half of the Civil War, delivering impassioned and eloquent sermons that encouraged his listeners to give to the cause of aiding the war’s wounded. In the rough mining boom-towns, however, something other than King’s refined urbanity was desired and the absurdity of Gridley’s flour sack appealed greatly to the jocular prospectors. Reuel Gridley suddenly found himself a local celebrity. Approximately three weeks after the first auction, Gridley and his sack of flour went on tour, making a triumphant circuit of the Nevada mining region, repeating the symbolic bidding-war wherever they went, and bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for the Sanitary Fund. At this time “Sanitary Fairs” were being held all over the Union to raise money for the Commission. In the summer of 1864 Gridley took his show (and his sack) on the road and held auctions at Sanitary Fairs being held in Sacramento, San Francisco and Stockton. All along the way Gridley paid out of his own pocket for his expenses, determined to send every penny he raised to the Fund. In January of 1865 Gridley even brought his sack to New York, where he was heralded by the newspapers and accorded the honor of having his (and the sack’s) likeness appear in an engraving in Harper’s Weekly. Gridley’s Austin hometown newspaper, the Reese River Reveille, had the following to say about the image: Gridley toured the eastern states but, as the Civil War drew to a close, interest in the cause of aiding the war’s wounded ebbed. All told, the otherwise ordinary sack of flour had raised some $275,000 for the U.S. Sanitary commission during its career. Gridley’s buckskin sack of flour, still carrying its flags and ribbons and emblazoned with the words “Gridley’s Sanitary Sack,” presently resides in a display-case at the Nevada Historical Society Museum in Reno. Upon his return to his store in August of 1865, Gridley found his business on the verge of bankruptcy. Additionally, the stress of travel had badly weakened his health, from which he never recovered. In 1866 a penniless Gridley and his family came to Stockton, California and in 1868 they moved to Stanislaus County where he again operated a general store. Dying on November 24th of 1870, Gridley was interred in Stockton. In 1887 a marble monument, complete with a statue of Gridley and his famous sack of flour, was dedicated at the site of his grave. The inscription on the monument, which still stands, hails Gridley as “The Soldier’s Friend,” a suitably-humble epithet for a humble man, but he deserves to be remembered for more than that. The amount of money raised was indeed impressive but Gridley, the simple shopkeeper, also made by his actions an enduring statement which is all the more profound for its tacit nature. During the course of great events it is natural for individuals to feel powerless, especially when isolated by distance and a lack of position and influence. Gridley stood up as an example that everyone has something to contribute to the causes they believe in and, by working together, a community can accomplish far more than its members ever could separately. Gridley could of not said it better : everyone has something to contribute to the causes they believe in and, by working together, a community can accomplish far more than its members ever could separately. And I look to the ADVRIDER community to accomplish something bigger then all of us. Here is my idea!