More than 1200 motorcycle enthusiasts and country music fans lined up for miles behind Dierks Bentley on Sunday, October 17, for a common cause -- helping children in need. The occasion was Dierks' annual Miles & Music for Kids, a bike ride that snaked the backroads from Columbia, Tenn. to Nashville's Riverfront Park, culminating in a concert featuring country stars who were happy to come out for the cause. At the end of the evening, a check for $250,990 was turned over to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

For those who have never seen a charity motorcycle ride, the scene of more than a thousand bikes lined up in one place is quite exciting. Plus, it's humbling to know that this many people would take time on a Sunday afternoon to come out to do something that helps kids and their families whom the riders will never get to know.

Dierks has a daughter, Evie, who is nearly two. He tells The Boot that the ride has taken on new meaning since he has a child of his own. He and his wife, Cassidy, are expecting their second child this December. "We are fortunate to have a healthy daughter, and we pray that our second child will be healthy as well," he says. "These families who have children in the hospital, they need to only have to worry about their child getting well, not where the next money is coming from.

"Country music artists have taken an interest in kids, including St. Jude's and what Rascal Flatts has done for Vanderbilt. It's great to be able to help do something for the kids and their families when they have to deal with life-threatening situations."

Heidi Newfield was showing off her new toy at the ride, a pink custom-made bike from Demented Cycles in Texas. Unfortunately she was not able to ride the new motorcycle because it needed a little fine tuning before she took it on the road. The singer has only been riding a couple years, but says she loves the freedom it affords her.

"When you are out riding you have to be so attentive to the safety of yourself and those around you, yet your mind can just be free and not think about anything," Heidi tells The Boot. "When I'm riding I don't think about my music, writing songs or my concert tour. I'm just out there enjoying being on the road and not having to worry about anything."

Others who joined Dierks on the ride were Craig Campbell, who said it was an honor to be asked to be part of the event, and Ira Dean, a former partner with Heidi in Trick Pony.

Shortly after arrival at Riverfront Park, music became the main focus as DIerks took to the stage to welcome a multitude of friends who were there to sing for the cause. Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Del McCoury, Heidi Newfield, Jerrod Niemann, Mat Kearney and Laura Bell Bundy joined Dierks to perform for more than 5,000 fans, many of whom bought tickets for the concert part of the event to help the cause.

This past year, Dierks took Miles & Music for KIds on the road, expanding to cities including Phoenix, Ariz.; Seattle, Wa.; Atlanta, Ga.; Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Ill. He hopes to expand to other cities next year. "We were very happy with the other rides," Dierks says, "and that we were able to help hospitals in those cities as well as Vanderbilt in Nashville."

Miles & Music for Kids has raised over $1.5 million for Children's Miracle Network hospitals in Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Seattle.

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