This is Burt Welleford’s 1951 Vincent Black Shadow. Anyone who has been around motorcycles any length of time knows the name “Vincent,” the history, and legend of the marque. Burt’s Vincent has it’s own history, before it was Burt’s, it was his father’s, and before that, his grandfather’s, who purchased the Black Shadow new in 1951. This Vincent has been in the Welleford family for well over a half century, it just hasn’t been in the family, it is family. Because of their rarity, some Vincent motorcycles have sold for as much $100,000 and are very much a collector’s item, but, this one isn’t for sale, and as far as Burt is concerned, it’s priceless.
Burt Welleford is a man on a mission, starting June 2013, he’s risking it all by taking a ride around the edges of the lower 48 states on his Vincent Black Shadow. Starting in Atlanta, Georgia, Burt will go clockwise around the outside edge of the United States and return to Atlanta. This is something I would be hesitant to try on my own modern motorcycle, any manner of things could go wrong, accidents, flats, breakdown’s, you name it, it could happen. Add in the fact that this is a over sixty year old British motorcycle, and the trip becomes even more of a challenge. Most Vincent owners are content to ride their bikes a few times a year, maybe take a short trip, but nothing like Burt is planning. So why is he willing to do this? To honor his father, grandfather, and to benefit a worthy children’s charity that brings hope to those who have none.
Try to imagine that you are a parent, with a child that has a grave medical condition, and, that despite your best efforts to provide for your child, you have inadequate, or no medical insurance. Where do you turn for help? The Shriners Hospital for Children, that’s where. We all know the Shriners, right? It’s those guys with the funny hats and little cars in parades, the man with a donation bucket at the intersection, or the bottom of an Interstate ramp. What most people don’t know, or, are only slightly aware of, is that they run one of the largest children’s charities in the world. Founded in the 1920s, there are now 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They provide pediatric specialty care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay, if the family can’t afford treatments, it’s free. The Shriners Hospitals for Children has helped nearly one million children overcome exceedingly difficult challenges and live happy, fulfilled lives.
These are the statistics for 2011, as provided by The Shriners Hospitals for Children. They have cared for 121,713 patients, including 30,402 new patients, impressive! Here’s the short list of critical services provided:
- 285,154 outpatient, outreach and telemedicine clinic visits.
- 10,109 prosthetic patient visits. (inpatient and outpatient)
- 51,288 orthotics patient visits. (inpatient and outpatient)
- 210,624 radiology services.
An amazing charity, yes? It gets even better, The Shriners Hospitals for Children spends 91% of their donation money on providing services, meaning the children get the most from your donation.
Burt is paying for the entire trip himself, every donation you make will go directly to the charity, he won’t see a dime. I was with him at Bryan Fuller’s Garage party Friday night, when I asked him why he was giving up so much to do this, he replied, “I have always felt you should give back to the world more than you were given.” Personally, I think the world could use a few more like Burt.
So, how do you help Burt in his mission?
- By making a donation, it can be whatever you like, Burt’s goal is $50,000. I would like to see the motorcycling community help him exceed that, he’s doing the hard work, all you have to do is follow this link and get out your wallet.
- Support Burt on his ride, remember, the expenses are all out of his pocket, buy him a meal, fill up his gas tank, give him a place to sleep, ride with him awhile, do whatever you can to make his mission a success.
- Burt has a Face Book page set up, “Vincent Around America,” I suggest you go “like” it and share the link around.
- Share the link to this article, the more people that know, the better.
Burt, I admire you so much for the mission you are on, I am proud to know you and call you my friend! Good luck!
Words By: Terry Cavender
Image By: Terry Cavender