Many motorcycle riders are beginning to prepare for one of the county's largest summer fundraisers.

Many motorcycle riders are beginning to prepare for one of the county's largest summer fundraisers.

Task force members gathered last week in Marysville to begin preparing for this year's Ride for Kids, a poker run of sorts that has been part of Union County's All Ohio Bike Fest. All proceeds from the Ride for Kids benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF).

A nonprofit charitable organization, the PBTF raises funds for researchers to develop new therapies to extend the lives of children with brain tumors. The PBTF also offers family support services and awards scholarships to brain-tumor survivors at postsecondary institutions.

"We had about 200 bikes in last year's ride and raised about $70,000," Marysville task force co-leader Ken Denman said. "Our goal for this year is to raise $74,000, but I'd really like to see us raise $100,000. All it takes is people."

Ride for Kids 2011 events begin nationally April 3 in Florida, including 23 motorcycle rides throughout the country. Marys-ville's event is scheduled for July 23.

Denman said organizers would spend the coming weeks securing sponsors for the event, getting the word out to motorcycle clubs throughout Ohio, collecting donations and gathering more volunteers to help run the event.

The Ride for Kids fundraiser began nationally in 1984. Since its inception, volunteers and riders have raised more than $40-million toward pediatric brain-tumor research, according to Ride for Kids national manager Robert Trigueros.

Marysville's Ride for Kids will be held July 23 - rain or shine. Registration is $35 and begins at 8 a.m. at the Scotts Miracle-Gro headquarters, 14111 Scottslawn Road, Marysville. The ride will conclude with a Celebration of Life program in which riders will meet local children who are beneficiaries and will award presentations for top fundraisers. Riders also will be entered in a raffle for a new Honda motorcycle.

Fundraisers also plan to ask motorists for donations on the two Saturdays prior to the event, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in uptown Marysville.

A second Ride for Kids task force meeting tentatively is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 9 at the Marysville Public Library, 231 S. Plum St. More information on the fundraiser is available online at www.rideforkids.org.

On a related note, Union County tourism director Candace Watson said county organizers are in the planning stages for a large motorcycle-related summer event, which would incorporate the Ride for Kids if plans come to fruition.

"We will probably know more in a couple weeks, but right now we're trying to get final confirmation on dates, if there are bands that can perform. We're getting a feel for the skeleton of a schedule," she said. "There will be a bike event this summer. We are just confirming dates and what roles people will play."