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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 02, 2009, 07:55 AM

ND bikers caravan to veterans cemetery for burial

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — More than 900 people crowded into a high school gymnasium in eastern North Dakota to pay tribute to a fallen biker.

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — More than 900 people crowded into a high school gymnasium in eastern North Dakota to pay tribute to a fallen biker.

The next day, Roger Ready's friends made one last ride with him, escorting a hearse halfway across the state to the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Mandan.

The 61-year-old Ready, a chaplain for a number of groups, died last week after he was thrown from his motorcycle on state Highway 200 in central North Dakota. His fellow riders said he hit a pothole.

The motorcycle caravan arrived Wednesday at the cemetery in Mandan. Red, white and blue balloons were released by children as bikers hollered "Glory."

Rich Sheppard and his wife, Karen, of Grand Forks, said Ready would ride with any motorcycle club and had time for everyone.

"Roger was the kind of a person who would call you on the phone when you needed it, just out of the blue," Karen Sheppard said.

The Rev. Rick and Carol Wadholm drove 225 miles from Garrison to the funeral Tuesday in Larimore.

Wadholm recalled when he and his wife were working at a small church near Emerado and raising a family. He said Ready, who had a civil service job at the nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base, would stop in to worship.

"One of the first times, Roger shook my hand and then walked off," Rick Wadholm said. "Nobody knew he had just palmed me 300 bucks. And that wasn't the only time he did it. He was making good money and just wanted to share it."

Wadholm said he urged Ready to be officially ordained because "he already was doing the work of a minister."

Chad Wolf, Ready's son, called his father "just a good, caring man, who loved his family and loved to help his children."

Longtime Larimore residents said Tuesday's funeral was the largest in the history of the community of 1,400. Paul Redding, who helped organize it, said that within a day of Ready's death, he got calls from the Dakotas, Minnesota and Canada saying, "just tell us when and where."

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