Two Ole Miss alumni will cycle six days and 300 miles this Thanksgiving week to ensure people have holiday meals in Lafayette County.
Adam Vinson and Charlie Wildman will bike along the Natchez Trace from the Vanderbilt University game to the Egg Bowl game at Ole Miss to raise funds for the Oxford and Lafayette County United Way’s program to give out Thanksgiving Day meals.
“For Charlie and me, this ride is about Oxford and the Ole Miss community,” Vinson said. “Growing up in Oxford, I’m familiar with their contributions to the community and knew they would be a perfect fit…finding a partner charity was probably the easiest part of this little adventure.”
When Vinson, who graduated in 2008, came up with the idea to raise money for charity, he contacted his friend the next day and started planning.
“This sort of thing is right up his alley,” Vinson said about Wildman.
Vinson and Wildman, who met while enrolled at Ole Miss, had been thinking about riding the Natchez Trace for almost a year. Vinson explained that one day when he was looking at the Ole Miss football schedule, he noticed the second to last game was in Nashville, Tennessee, which is where the Natchez Trace begins.
He did some quick calculations, called Wildman and they made a plan.
“Having a chance to catch two games and bike from one to the other was an easy sell,” Vinson said. “We’re both regular cyclists and lifelong Ole Miss fans, so it’s a perfect way for us to bike about half of the Trace and combine it with something else we really love.”
The pair is endorsed by the United Way, a nonprofit organization that works with more than 1,200 offices throughout the country to help raise efforts in fundraising for charities.
Kathy Williams is the associate director Lafayette County United Way. She is responsible for all fundraising and marketing.
“The donation process is so easy,” Williams said.
People can sign up to donate by texting “RebelsRide” to 71777.
Williams said there is no minimum amount that people can donate and any amount is appreciated.
“Many are tying their donations to the actual miles,” Williams said. “For example, the ride is 300 miles – 10 cents a mile would be $30.”
Williams said Vinson and Wildman will both be at the Ole Miss party Friday night at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, where people will have the opportunity to donate as well.
“We have partnered with the Athletic Department, who is making all of this possible,” Williams said. “Ole Miss is a huge supporter of United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County.”
The pair of charitable cyclists will complete its ride Saturday, Nov. 26, at Ole Miss.