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On the road: Trekking bicyclist raises money for pets

Leo Dever and his pooch, Sassy Max, have been biking for nine years to raise money for homeless animals. ‘I love it,’ Dever said. ‘I could do it forever.’ Leo Dever and his pooch, Sassy Max, have been biking for nine years to raise money for homeless animals. ‘I love it,’ Dever said. ‘I could do it forever.’ Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

The Johnny Cash tune, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” certainly describes Leo Dever, 59, and his gallivanting canine, Sassy Max, to a T.

“Leo and Max Across America” is Dever’s campaign to raise funds for homeless animals and he has quite a following on Facebook. They paused for a bit in Powell Tuesday.

Dever and Max have been biking for years, from the Southeast to the mountains to the plains and the sea. “I’m working on my ninth year,” Dever said.

Dever, an Ava, Mo., resident, grips the handlebars of his mountain bike as he holds court. Max sprawls across the back amid assorted gear and coats, with Old Glory fluttering from the rear.

Dever looks like a scruffier Willie Nelson, if that is possible. A sort of beret crowns his head. A pair of braids vanish in a long, thick beard sprouting from his chest to crowd a weathered face.

“I always wanted to do this,” Dever said in front of Shopko while cars and trucks whiz past. “I started when I was 50.”

He biked one year, and decided to do it a second time, he said. The rest is history.

“We (Dever and Max) do this to tell people to support them, animals, all animals,” he said.

Thanks to the elements, Dever sports a sunburn, but he’s not complaining. He’s happy.

“You get used to it,” Dever said.

The cold doesn’t faze him. When he gets tired, he rests. He may travel 60 to 70 miles per day or less if it’s windy or the grades are arduous. “If I had a chance to go to another country, I would go there too.”

“I love it,” Dever said. “I could do it forever.”

Max, who returns a bark at a dog yapping in the parking lot, seems content, too. Max prefers certain states over others and is much more inclined toward cooler climes, Dever said.

Still, Dever may hang up his spokes someday to look up a real estate agent to locate him the optimal property to settle.

“Maybe find the right place,” Dever said. “I figure I will stay up in this country somewhere.”

Check out Leo and Max Across America on Facebook or YouTube. He has a donation account on PayPal that can be found via Facebook.

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