EASTHAMPTON — When Jesse Johansmeyer died at the young age of 19, his friends and family wanted to do something to make sure his legacy endured.

“He was tragically taken from the world and I wanted to do something that let his name live on and never be forgotten,” said Devon Glynn, a friend and the lead organizer of Jesse’s Ride. “Jesse was an awesome guy everyone loved to be around. He was always positive and smiling. You didn’t have to know him for a long time to be friends with him and it was guaranteed that he would leave a positive impact on everyone who met him. There’s not many people in this world like him.”

After Johansmeyer’s death from an apparent hit-and-run accident at a bonfire in March 2023, Glynn and a group of family and friends organized the first Jesse’s Ride.

“Last year for the first annual we had a nice turnout, a good amount of bikes and around 200 people at the afterparty,” recalled Glynn.

This year’s event on May 11 promises to be bigger and better, benefitting the Easthampton Dog Park. The ride begins at 11 a.m. at Easthampton’s American Legion, 190 Pleasant St., and ends at Monty’s Motorsports, 1 Arch Rd. in Westfield, a roughly hour-long ride. The afterparty will have food, drinks and live music by Cosmos Factory, a Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band. The Beer Guy will be there selling beer and wine and there will be raffle baskets and 50/50 raffles. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and is $20 per person for the ride and afterparty or $15 for just the afterparty.

“I’ve had help from some of this year’s sponsors that have gone above and beyond and a few individuals have helped greatly,” noted Glynn. “Joan Kurtz, who is with the Easthampton Dog Park, has been a huge help with advertising and reaching out for donations. Steven Lord and Austin Phillips have helped greatly with advertising and set up and Austin donated some custom engraved mugs for raffle baskets.”

Family and friends hope that Jesse’s Ride will serve as a reminder of who Jesse was while helping the dog park.

“He loved hockey, animals, motorcycles, rock climbing and just about anything sports-related,” said Glynn. “He was a super hard worker with a great work ethic.”

The family has also created a website to help support those who are also experiencing grief and trauma. For more information about that visit www.sites.google.com/view/jesses-justice.

For more information about Jesse’s Ride, visit Jesse’s Ride on social media.

Tina Lesniak
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