Riding for a cause and a record
By Eric Blaisdell
STAFF WRITER | July 12,2013
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo
Robert Burlison Jr., right, stands by his motorcycle with representatives of Kiwanis Clubs from Barre, Montpelier, Hardwick and St. Johnsbury outside the Statehouse on Thursday. Burlison is trying to break the Guinness World Record for longest continuous motorcycle journey within one country and is helping to raise money for a Kiwanis campaign to eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus.
MONTPELIER — A California man was in the Capital City on Thursday on a quick stopover on his attempt to break a world record while also raising money to fight maternal/neonatal tetanus.
Robert Burlison Jr., a Kiwanis member for 28 years, put his day job as a lawyer on hold seven weeks ago and set off to break the Guinness World Record for longest continuous motorcycle ride all within one country. Burlison said the record holder is a man from India who rode 11,200 miles. Burlison said his route should take him past that mark as he expects to go 12,300 miles.
Thursday he said he had just passed the 7,000-mile mark and is starting his trek back west.
The ride, called Kiwanis Unity Ride to Eliminate (KURE), is in support of the Eliminate project — a global campaign by Kiwanis and UNICEF to raise $110 million to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide. According to Kiwanis, a service group of volunteers, every nine minutes during 2011 a baby died from tetanus. A three-dose vaccine would give the mother and child immunity from tetanus at a cost of $1.80 per vaccine.
To help raise the money, Burlison is selling $50 raffle tickets for a $10,000 motorcycle. The winner can pick either the motorcycle or the money. He said he hopes to raise around $25,000 by the end of his journey.
Those looking to donate can visit Kure2013.com.
Burlison, who is in the seventh week of his trip, also is doing the ride for his father, Robert Burlison Sr., a World War II Navy veteran who died in March. Burlison’s father had wanted to go on the trip with his son.
“He said that, ‘It was a significant effort that a real cowboy would do.’ Why did he said that? I don’t know. But it got me thinking. ... To me, Kiwanians are like real cowboys. They are courteous, respectful. When they do something they don’t want anything back. They aren’t doing it for anything back.”
Some of the highlights of Burlison’s trip are when groups come out to ride with him. He said he enjoyed riding with the American Legion in Kansas and the Arkansas chapter of Rolling Thunder.
“Riding in a group is just great. It’s the herd mentality,” he said jokingly.