By Jonathan Deal
CULLMAN — Bo Jackson heard something he thought he would never hear Wednesday afternoon in Cullman. The former Auburn University Heisman Trophy winner was greeted by a fan with “Roll, Bo, Roll” on the second leg of his bike ride across Alabama.
The good-natured cheer epitomized what Jackson has done for the state of Alabama on his Bo Bikes Bama charity bike ride to raise money for tornado relief. Speaking to a crowd outside Hibbett Sporting Goods in Cullman, Jackson made a point to put the rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University in perspective compared to the destruction of April 27.
The famous two-sport athlete showed off his cycling skills Wednesday, leading a group of more than 100 riders across the finish line in Cullman, where a tornado struck downtown, demolishing several buildings.
The group began the ride’s second leg Wednesday morning near Lake Guntersville State Park making stops along the way in Joppa and Fairview.
Local residents were out in force at the finish line in Cullman to support the ride and hopefully grab an autograph along the way. Gov. Robert Bentley, in town to tour rebuilding efforts, also stopped by.
“I appreciate what he’s trying to do,” said Cullman resident Vicki Pierce. “Cullman was very blessed we didn’t have any deaths. I think what he’s doing for the community is just fabulous.”
Riding with Jackson on the 65-mile second leg of the journey were Picabo Street, Scottie Pippen and Ken Griffey Jr. among others. Pippen said he didn’t hesitate when Jackson approached him about the event.
“Bo’s my guy,” Pippen said. “I think he’s doing this for a great cause. I really wanted to support him.”
The ride will conclude Saturday in Tuscaloosa where Lance Armstrong and more celebrities are expected to join Jackson for the finish and a memorial service to the 247 Alabamians killed on April 27.