There's nothing quite like spending a day on the water and for Drew Schenk and his son, Will, their favorite ride of the year is just around the corner.

There's nothing quite like spending a day on the water and for Drew Schenk and his son, Will, their favorite ride of the year is just around the corner. 

For the last 9 years, Drew has been the marketing director/Internet sales manager for Surdyke Yamaha, giving him a unique opportunity to be part of the annual Boat and PWC Ride for Freedom. 

Sponsored by SurdykeYamaha, the Ride for Freedom on Sept. 13, is a 150-mile trip to Truman Dam and Back. The ride is a free community event to remember 9/11 and honor lake area 1st responders. There's still plenty of time to register for the event that leaves from Surdyke's Port 20 on Sept. 13. The ride gets underway in the morning around 9:00 a.m. and riders will be home in time for dinner at Port 20. 

If you are a Lake Area 1st Responder (Fire, Police, EMT, Active Military or National Guard, Etc) Surdyke Yamaha will provide a free Yamaha PWC or a ride on one of the boats for the event.

Surdyke Yamaha in Osage Beach wants as many first responders and military as possible. Please sign up early to help us provide boat seats and PWCs. Early registration gets you a better ride. Sign up for the event at www.surdykeyamaha.com.

Schenk said the idea of a dam to dam ride originated about 15 years ago when Greg Surdyke started doing the Shootout Dam to Dam run. Eventually, Schenk said they came to the conclusion that the dam to dam trip was too busy that time of year for a long ride on a personal watercraft. 

 "We decided about 8 years ago to move this event to just after Labor day and to use it to lift up and recognize 1st responders and the military.  We use it to remember the sacrifices that this country made on 9/11/2001 and say “thank you” to our lake area 1st responders, national guard and the military," he said.  "It's a great event. The military and 1st responders are a group that all lake area residents should get behind and come out and support.  We wanted to honor the memory of 9/11/2001 and so our event is always around “Patriots Day” on Sept. 11. It is a chance for us to say “Thank You” to all these patriots for all that they do and putting their lives on the line daily to help others."

Schenk said the day starts at 9:00 a.m. when boats and PWC's leave Surdyke's. Along the way they will make frequent stops for fuel, drinks and food. They will make a stop at BuckNaked Restaurant and Marina for lunch at the 76.5-mile marker before heading back to Surdyke's for dinner. Dinner is free. 

"It takes about 8 hours back and forth and is a great way to enjoy the lake," he said. 

"My favorite part of the ride is that it is such a family friendly event.  I have had my son, Will, go with me on the ride for the last 6 years.  He will be 13 on this year’s ride.  He started riding in front of me and then moved to behind me and now he drives me most of the ride.  I love the smooth water in the upper reaches of the lake.  It is the only time of the year that I get the chance to go all the way up there and it is my favorite ride of the year."

Schenk feels right at home on the lake. He grew up in Boonville, moved to Dallas for 15 years where he began his career in the marine industry. About 10 years ago he decided to come home to Boonville. He has been with Surdyke Yamaha ever since. 

The Freedom Ride is free. For those who can a $100 donation is requested but not required to participate.

All of the donations go to related Police, Military and 1st Responder charities. The Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), the Cadet Thomas Surdyke Memorial Foundation, Supporting Heroes, and The Mission Continues charities.