Big Wheels on Beale Street raise funds for The Salvation Army in Memphis

By: David Ibata

Grown-ups racing big wheels on possibly the most famous street in Memphis, Tennessee, is a fall tradition of the Beale Street Merchants Association; it has hosted the Big Wheel Relay for more than 10 years to raise money for The Salvation Army.

Twelve teams competed in the most recent meet, raising $1,300 as well as donations of nearly 100 toys, footballs, basketballs and other gifts for the Forgotten Angel initiative of the Army’s Angel Tree Program.

“It’s a fun way to engage those who may not know about The Salvation Army and Angel Tree, and obviously, it serves the children of our community,” said Aaron Keegan, development director for the Memphis Area Command.

Funds are raised through registration fees – $80 per four-person team for early entries, and $100 in the week leading up to the Saturday, Nov. 25, event.

Participants, spectators and businesses also were encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to any venue along Beale Street, Memphis’ “Home of the Blues” entertainment district.

Each team member rode an adult-sized big wheel supplied by the Merchants Association on a course of 250 feet, dodging multiple obstacles along the way; total course distance was 1,000 feet. The team with the best time won.

The 2018 winners were: Club 152 On Beale, First place; Young Avenue Deli, Second Place; and Rum Boogie Cafe, Third Place.