Northbound I-35 was temporarily shut down for about 30 minutes and it was for a good reason. Hundreds of motorcyclists took over part of the highway for the annual CVMA Chris Kyle Memorial Motorcycle Ride.
Jason "Sway" St. John founded the event, “Why do we do it? To pay homage to those who have fallen and especially a great American slash Texan hero Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield,” he said.
This is the second year for the annual event. In the first year they had about 75 riders, this year there were nearly 300. The riders, who came from all over the State of Texas, start in San Antonio and made their way to the Cowboy Harley Davidson in Southeast Austin. Most of those who participated are veterans themselves. Rob Lewis was in the Army for more than 12 years, and served in Operation Desert Storm, “We spend all year raising money to help veterans, heck we put up fences, put up handicap ramps. It's kind of a chance for all of us to get together and have a good time,” he said.
The Austin Police Department had motorcycle officer who escorted the group and shut down parts of I-35 as they rode to the Texas State Cemetery where Chris Kyle is buried. Kyle, a highly awarded Navy Seal Veteran and his friend Chad Littlefield were shot and killed in 2013 by a former marine with PTSD. “Somehow, someway he fought through it, and was trying to give back to our brothers and sisters and unfortunately somebody he was trying to help took his life,” said St. John.
At the cemetery the group gathered at Kyle's gravestone for a ceremony to honor him. Many laid wreaths and pins to show their respect and honor Kyle. “He's an American hero; he represented the best of us, the soldiers, us veterans. We are sheep dogs, we take care of each other, he did that in his service and after he got out,” Lewis said.