Last month I was asked by my friend, Nick Crandell, if I would photograph an event that he and other friends were putting together for June 25th and of course I said yes. Ride2Zero is a Veteran PTSD and Suicide Awareness ride that was sparked by the unthinkable loss of Nick’s friend, Josh Rew last year. A fellow veteran, Josh took his own life May 29, 2021.

A staggering 22 veterans a day take their own lives as a result of PTSD and depression from their time in the service. With a lack of available services through the VA (Veteran’s Affairs) there are not many places a veteran may feel comfortable opening up and many fear the judgement or repercussions. Thankfully there are organizations like Smiling Goat Ranch in Carbondale, CO who provides animal therapy for veterans and their families at no cost to them. Ride2Zero chose Smiling Goat Ranch to donate all proceeds of the ride to so they can continue to provide these services. Sheryl Ostrich Barto, executive director of Smiling Goat Ranch, spoke to their services on Saturday and shared her son is active duty Air Force.

The ride began with coffee, donuts and a short ceremony at the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial in Fruita, Colorado then traveled east on I-70 to the Veterans War Memorial in Rifle, Colorado. The ride was assisted by the Fellowship Riders of the Narrow Road, who along with Parachute and Rifle Police Departments blocked dangerous intersections so all in the precession could get through safely. Once in Rifle, riders were free to visit the multiple vendors and information booths that were set up for the event while Ron Milhorn with KMTS conducted interviews live on the radio from the event and assisted with the raffle.

A total of 61 bikes attended the first annual Ride2Zero PTSD which shocked and humbled all those who worked to make the event possible. The team hopes the ride will continue to grow in the coming years and will continue to put on other events such as traveling bike nights and other rides. In fact, they are hosting their second traveling bike night at Mountain high Pie in Colbran, CO this Friday, July 1st for all who would like to attend!

Unfortunately, there was one important part of the ride that wasn’t able to be completed, honoring the Rew family. Josh’s brother was getting married in a different state Saturday, so there will be a secondary event in order to honor his family, with time and place to be determined.