Big Nick’s Ride Brings Cape Codders Together to Honor Local Heroes

YARMOUTH – For the 8th year, the streets of Cape Cod were lined with American flags, handmade signs, and crowds of supporters as more than 1,000 motorcycles traveled from Bourne to Yarmouth for Big Nick’s Annual Ride for the Fallen.

The ride is held in honor of Nicholas Xiarhos, a U.S. Marine who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009, and the 13 other Cape Codders who have died serving our country since 9/11.

It is the largest annul motorcycle ride on Cape Cod, attracting people from around the country who travel to the Cape to be a part of it all.

“To see this come together, we have people from all over, Texas, Arkansas, it’s incredible,” said Steven Xiarhos, Nick’s father and the Deputy Chief of Police in Yarmouth, “and I know what that means, a guy like me, and I just cry.”

Participants pay 20 dollars to take part, with all proceeds going to benefit the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Foundation, which supports local military families, veterans, and a scholarship at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, Nick’s alma mater.

This year’s ride carried a particularly special meaning for the Xiarhos family, as it occurred 8 years to the day after they learned that Nick had been killed in action.

“Every year it’s bigger and bigger, today is bittersweet because today is the day that Nick was killed. 8 years ago today.” said Xiarhos, “The ceremony in the beginning is very powerful, the ride is incredible, and now when we get here it is a time to celebrate.”

The event began at 7:30 on Sunday morning at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Complex in Bourne with a somber pre-ride ceremony honoring Cape Cod’s fallen before the enormous crowd took to the streets.

“This is an expression of gratefulness to all of those families who have lost and to show our appreciation to the men and women who serve our nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito who attended the ceremony.

“The freedoms that we have are not free, we need to work hard to protect them and do our part as civilians to say thank you and express our total and heart-felt appreciation for the men and women and their families who protect and serve our great country.”

The convoy traveled north on MacArthur Boulevard to the Bourne Rotary, where the route then turned east onto Sandwich Road and made their way along Route 6A through Sandwich, Barnstable, and Yarmouth before ending at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School to fervent applause and cheers from police, military, and civilian supporters.

At D-Y, next to the football field named in Nick’s honor, ridders, public officials, and members of the community were treated to a celebration with music, food, and good cheer. The mood is always decidedly non-mournful, but rather upbeat and happy.

It’s a celebration of freedom and all things American with a particular appreciation for those who sacrifice to make it so.

“We hope that we can help all Gold Star families learn to live with it, because you never get over it, it’s horrible” said Xiarhos, “But we try to use the loss of Nick to honor the other fallen and, almost more importantly, thank the living, the living that made it home. They struggle.”

The fourteen Cape Codders killed serving our country since 9/11 are:

United States Army Staff Sergeant Alicia A. Birchett of Mashpee

United States Army Private First Class Paul E. Conlon of Mashpee​

United States Navy Captain Gerald F. DeConto of Sandwich ​

United States Army Sergeant Alexander H. Fuller of Barnstable

​United States Army Sergeant Matthew R. Gallagher of Falmouth

United States Navy SEAL Kevin A. Houston of Barnstable

​United States Marine Captain Eric A. Jones of Mashpee

​United States Marine Private First Class Daniel A.C. McGuire of Mashpee

​United States Army Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino of Bourne ​

United States Army Private First Class Clinton E. Springer II of Bourne

​United States Army Sergeant Zachary D. Tellier of Falmouth ​

United States Army Sergeant Mark R. Vecchione of Eastham

Commander Francis T Williams of Sandwich

​​United States Marine Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos of Yarmouth.


About NewsCenter

The award-winning NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy