Bicycle rally raises money in boy’s memory
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003
NATCHEZ &045; Several family members and friends of the late Michael T. Boykin rode not only in his memory but also to help raise money for the Natchez Children’s Home Saturday morning.
The first Michael T. Boykin Great Mississippi Bicycle Rally started at the Main Street Marketplace in downtown Natchez with a total of 60 cyclists riding throughout Adams, Jefferson and southern Claiborne counties.
Boykin was 20 years old when he died in a car accident in mid-June. He not only loved cycling, but he also loved being around children.
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Many members of Boykin’s family said they were glad the Natchez Bike Club made this event happen.
&uot;It’s very touching, and I’m overwhelmed,&uot; said Cindy Boykin, Michael’s mother.
&uot;I’m glad they’re doing something for him in his honor,&uot; said Jessica Barrett, a 2002 graduate of Cathedral who was Michael’s boyfriend and the only survivor of the accident. &uot;He loved to ride, and I’m glad they did something for him.&uot;
&uot;Michael would’ve loved this kind of thing. It means a lot, especially for the Children’s home,&uot; Grady Boykin, Michael’s father, said. &uot;It means a lot to be associated with this.
&uot;I like to thank the Natchez Bike Club for making this happen. We want to thank all the sponsors for what they did.&uot;
The irony of the day was the race was held in Boykin’s honor 24 years to the day of his grandfather’s death, although he was someone Michael never knew.
Tiffee, wife of Natchez Bicycle Center owner Aaron Tiffee and one of Michael’s cousins, said she felt that &uot;if Michael was looking down on us, he would be smiling because he loved children.
&uot;It it wasn’t for him, I would’ve stopped on mile five,&uot; he added. &uot;We did this for him.&uot;
&uot;Great,&uot; Duke Loomis, one of Michael’s uncles, said. &uot;Taylor (Loomis, Duke’s daughter) had fun.&uot;
Nine-year-old Taylor Loomis described the ride as &uot;crazy.&uot;
&uot;And it was fun. And I did it for my cousin,&uot; she said.
Lacy Boykin, Michael’s sister, said this event would have been something he would have enjoyed a lot.
&uot;It’s great that so many people came out here and sponsored this,&uot; she said.
&uot;I think the Children’s Home is pleased. It’s a shame that I couldn’t do something like this with him.&uot;
Joe Mitchell of the Natchez Children’s Home expected the event to raise at least $2,000, with all the money going to the Children’s Home.
&uot;It’s a huge help,&uot; Mitchell said. &uot;There are several reasons. One is financial. We’re delighted with whatever we get.
&uot;The second is to create a greater awareness of the mission of the Children’s Home, which is to provide a safe, healing environment for children and families in crises.&uot;
As for the growing popularity of cycling in this area, Aaron Tiffee noted that the number of members of the Natchez Bike Club has grown from six to 60 &045; and that’s just since May.
&uot;In just the last five months, that’s unbelievable,&uot; he said.
As to why so many people enjoy cycling so much, Aaron Tiffee said, &uot;It’s outgoing, relaxing. Cyclists are a different kind of people. All of them are super nice, super helpful.&uot;
And this event made that statement all the more true.