BOONE, Iowa--Vice President Mike Pence joined a record number of riders on Senator Joni Ernst's 3rd Annual Roast and Ride from Des Moines to Boone Saturday afternoon.
Ernst announced before the event that Pence was delayed due to a death in the family, but didn't elaborate.
Ernst's staff said 501 signed up for the event, which helped raise money for Hope for Warriors, a non-profit that helps with veterans and their families transitioning after military service.
Pence didn't make the 49-mile ride on a motorcycle like Ernst and the others, but he did ride in for the last mile or so into the Central Iowa Expo grounds in Boone,
"Hello, Iowa," Pence told the crowd after he walked on stage.
The Vice President praised President Donald Trump numerous times during his speech. He told Iowans the President made the right decision in starting the process of removing the United States from the Paris climate change agreement, an agreement virtually every other country in the world still supports.
"As the President said, this administration was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh not Paris," Pence told the audience, "How great is it to have a President who is more concerned with Des Moines than Denmark?"
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott also spoke at the event. "This is a state that believes in girl power!" Scott said, citing the history-making accomplishments of Kim Reynolds recently becoming Iowa's first female governor and Ernst earlier becoming the state's first female member of Congress.
He also stoked the idea of Ernst on the presidential ticket one day. "I'm looking forward to the day when Mike Pence and Joni Ernst are on the same ticket."
In 2016, Ernst turned down Trump's interest in serving as his vice president.
When asked whether she regrets that decision Saturday, Ernst responded, "Never...never...absolutely not. I think Vice President Pence is terrific. And he brought a lot to the ticket."