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Horns of Hope convoy to hit road July 31

Submitted Photo The Horns of Hope Convoy will start at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds.

By ANTHONY DOLCE

adolce@observertoday.com

Nathen Lindstrom celebrated his 10th birthday during the pandemic with a parade of trucks going by his Brocton residence. Lindstrom liked his celebration so much that he wanted to share it with the rest of the Western New York community. Now, six months after his birthday, Lindstrom is just over a week away from seeing his goal realized.

With Nathen’s mother, Johnnie Lindstrom, doing a lot of the preparation, the Horns of Hope Convoy will ride through the northern part of Chautauqua County on July 31.

With the help of several municipalities, local fire and police departments, and several sponsors, Lindstrom said that this event has gotten bigger than she ever expected it to be, but that her son is starting to feel the excitement. “Nate is ecstatic. He’s so excited,” Lindstrom said. “He told me last night on the way to get more supplies how excited he was and thankful he was that it was able to happen.”

Lindstrom said that there are 60 trucks registered to run in the convoy so far, and the entire route is expected to take around 1:30 and will travel throughout several different municipalities. Lindstrom said that the outreach she’s received from the community has been incredible, and she’s excited to see how many people come out and watch.

“A lot of people have reached out and asked what times we’re travelling and where we’ll be and the exact times,” Lindstrom said. “That has been phenomenal. I’m not sure if we’ll have 20 people or 2,000 but there’s definitely been a lot of community outreach for it.”

The convoy will start at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds at noon, then leave to go to Vineyard Drive, then right at the roundabout to take Route 20 all the way to Westfield. From there they’ll go on 394 to Route 5 to Barcelona to wind back up at the Fairgrounds. Lindstrom said they’ve done a couple test runs of the route to get their estimated time down. Because of the nature of the event, Lindstrom said the trucks will run about 10 miles under the speed limit so people can take in the show.

“We don’t want to run full speed,” Lindstrom said. “We want everyone to enjoy what Nate loves most. The only way we can do that is by running slower and letting everyone see what’s going on.”

Upon returning to the Fairgrounds, there will be a chicken barbeque that begins at one and will go until 5 p.m., or earlier if it sells out. There are also over 30 raffle baskets, which include a $2,500 toolbox, big Adirondack chairs, a porch swing, a bike donated by Fredonia Cycling, and many more. The train car at the Fairgrounds will also be open for viewing.

Additional to the 60 trucks, which include some from Rochester, Pittsburgh, and some places in Ohio, there will also be 19 special riders as part of the Convoy. These 19 riders are kids with disabilities or a terminal illness, or former truckers with disabilities who can no longer drive their own trucks.

“We have kids from age four registered, and three ex-truckers,” Lindstrom said. “One of those registered is my dad, so Nate’s grandfather.”

There will also be some other special guests, which include a replica of Optimus Prime and a helicopter from Western New York Helicopters that will fly over the Convoy. There will also be a videographer to do a small recording of the event. Even fighting through COVID-19 guidelines that are still in place, Lindstrom said everything is going well.

“There’s been a couple hiccups through the process, but we’ve been able to figure out ways to push through and make this successful,” Lindstrom said. “We’re still set to roll.”

As part of Nathen Lindstrom’s goal, Johnnie is also looking at making the Horns of Hope Convoy a yearly event. Though she’s doing her best to get through this first one, they have already set a tentative date of July 2, 2022, for next year’s Convoy, as the Fairgrounds was taken the last weekend of July 2022.

Because of the help of Kravitz Tree Services, St. George Construction, and the many other sponsors for the event, on top of Fredonia, Dunkirk, and Westfield Fire Departments, who are each participating in the event, the Lindstrom’s goal of making Horns of Hope a special event are well on their way to succeeding. And that success should be displayed in Chautauqua County for years to come, should everything go according to plan.

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