For the men and women competing in the 28th annual Virginia City Motorcycle Marathon this weekend, there are two goals - finish and do it without getting the FUBAR award.
Once a year, riders from across Nevada and California gather in Virginia City for a 200-mile dirt ride through the Nevada desert to raise money for a good cause. This year's event is scheduled for today and Saturday.
Yet, the event that has generated more than $700,000 to help residents began simply to see if it could be done.
"One night six couples were sitting around and figured out that you could ride from Tonopah to here and we decided that if we were going to do it we wanted a purpose," said Aglaée DelCarlo, VCMM president.
At the same time, a local woman had both legs amputated and needed financial assistance. For the first ride, pledges were collected to help the woman's family and the motorcycle marathon was born.
There were five riders the first year, the number of riders continues to grow, with more than 35 scheduled to participate this year.
"There is always somebody needing something and even with government agencies helping, there are still people who fall through the cracks," said Lorraine Du Fresne, VCMM vice president.
Money raised through the event is used to support locals who are in need of assistance. The board, composed of five people, votes on how the money is distributed and all money is paid directly to cover bills and is not given to the individuals themselves.
In the past, the money has been used to help families whose homes have been destroyed by fire and those with medical bills, including a man severely burned while trying to rescue his dog from a hot spring north of Gerlach. The recipient for funds raised during this year's ride has not been named.
The marathon begins Friday night with a welcome dinner in Virginia City. The ride itself begins Saturday morning at the Delta Gift Shop parking lot. From there, the bikes and riders will be hauled to Tonopah. The riders stop for lunch at Weber's Reservoir and arrive back in Virginia City around 5 p.m. for the parade and banquet.
Each rider is responsible for bringing in at least $100 in pledges and is responsible for gas, lodging and repairs to the motorcycle. Riders are followed on the course by a support truck that can provide them gas, water and emergency assistance.
"It's just a ride, not a race so about 98 percent of the riders make it," said DelCarlo. "It's a fun thing for these riders. They do it because they enjoy it."
Du Fresne said, "We still have a lot of young kids who come and ride with their parents. It's kind of a family thing, but you've got to be a tough family."
Originally the event was held in June, but was moved to October following one particularly difficult year.
"That year we got stuck in one mud hole after another and the mosquitos were horrible, they were so thick," Du Fresne said. "Since we moved it we have been lucky and haven't had any snow."
While how they finish is of little importance to the riders, the big concern is not winning the feared FUBAR award. The FUBAR award is given to an individual who makes the biggest mistake during or after the ride, including getting lost, getting stuck or wrecking.
The recipient's name is added to one of the two awards, an outhouse containing a statue of a Mayan figure and a painting of Tonopah.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.
If you go
What: VCMM end-of-ride potluck and raffle
When: Dinner at 6 p.m., drawing and music at 9 p.m.
Where: The Old Washoe Club, 112 S. C St., Virginia City