EAST PROVIDENCE â€” Last winter, Kevin Robinson, his wife, Robin, and numerous others came together to organize the first-ever Ride With KROB/Family Fun Festival. They did so to raise money for the pro BMX tricksterâ€™s KROB Foundation, one that strives to provide East Providence youths with the opportunity to take part in sports they covet.
The foundation collected approximately $20,000, and with that money helped needy children afford registration and equipment for a variety of athletics, including football, baseball, soccer, even karate.
The goal for the second annual event â€“ slated to begin at Pierce Memorial Stadium and end at Rosa Larisa Park on Saturday, May 20 â€“ is the same, though Robinson has a different cause. When he discovered a couple of months ago his home city was pondering the elimination of all middle school sports come September, Robinson â€“ who had been on a training/business trip â€“ said it broke his heart.
â€śI still get goose bumps, and theyâ€™re not good ones,â€ť Robinson insisted while eating at a Riverside coffeehouse, not far from his Barrington home, on Thursday afternoon. â€śIt saddens me greatly that in these economic struggles the children are the ones who have to suffer.
â€śIâ€™m very appreciative that members of the R.I. Budget Commission agreed to meet with me a couple of weeks ago,â€ť he added. â€śI will continue to discuss ways to keep middle school athletics on the city budget, and Iâ€™m thankful they will work with myself, the foundation and the citizens of East Providence to keep coming up with ideas so it remains on the budget.
â€śIâ€™m still very worried. Everyone coming out of the gate was so motivated to do something about this issue, and I donâ€™t want to see that momentum fade. The last thing we need is any complacency. I brought awareness to Sen. Jack Reedâ€™s advisors at that time to explain what the foundation does, and what weâ€™re trying to do regarding the middle school (sports) situation, and they were blown away.
â€śThey were nothing but receptive, and it was very comforting to know that there are people leading this state who seem to care. I got a good feeling as to how they responded.â€ť
He explained those who attend the festival may give whatever they can afford to lend aid to those middle school student-athletes, as a booth will be set up just for that purpose.
As for the event itself, the foundation last spring asked each ride participant to sign up for a nominal $10 fee, while entire families could do so for $20.
â€śThere is no fee this time around,â€ť he said. â€śI just want people to participate. I want as many human beings and their skateboards, bikes, scooters or just their legs on that bike path as possible.â€ť
Folks may register for the ride (although people may walk, jog, cycle, whatever) between 9-9:45 a.m. at the stadium, and the trek to Rosa Larisa Park will begin promptly at 10 a.m.
The festival, with the primary sponsor being Center for Sports Medicine in E.P., will be held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and will include a family football combine with NFL player and former Townie Jamie Silva; a rock climbing wall; demonstrations of karate, gymnastics, fencing and other sports; music by six bands, among them Kicking Hole, Pat Lowell and Fungus Amungus; pal and disc jockey Donny Battle (aka Donny Senna, who is bringing break-dancers); plenty of vendors; and an array of food and drink.
Robinson also canâ€™t wait to see the looks on peopleâ€™s faces when they observe the BMX tricks he performs with his Woodward Camp friends. He stated fellow BMX professional Mykel Larrin will attend, as well as the Rye, N.H. brother tandem of Zane and Ian Bradley.
â€śZane is quickly catapulting himself into the pro world; people are going to have fun watching him,â€ť he said.
In addition, Robinson revealed many Ocean State and national celebrities have issued their RSVPs, including former New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau; Dr. David Chao, team doctor/surgeon for the NFLâ€™s San Diego Chargers and the X Games (heâ€™s also completed dozens of surgeries on K-Rob); and Rudy Pauls, a former contestant on the reality TV show, â€śThe Biggest Loser.â€ť
Even some of Sen. Reedâ€™s advisors have told him theyâ€™ll show.
â€śOur goal this year is for the people of East Providence, and the surrounding area, to have a great time, just like last year,â€ť Robinson said. â€śI want them to put down all of their technology and enjoy this time with their family and friends. Like I said, we also want to bring awareness of the possibility of terminating our middle school sports. The kids really need them.â€ť
For more information on the ride/festival, visit www.krobfoundation.org.