Left, Theo Janssen, the Nation Valley ATV Club’s Ride for Dad co-chairman, joins Ottawa Senators alumni and celebrity ride captain Brad Marsh, centre, and Nation Valley ride captain Jeff Leizert at the club’s first Ride for Dad event on March 2.
Canada’s first ATV Ride for Dad kicked fundraising into high gear in early March, bringing in $44,450 for prostate cancer research and support.
The Nation Valley ATV Club based in Winchester led 256 riders on the 100-kilometre trail on March 2, attracting riders from across the province and raising more than four times their goal.
“Our original goal was $10,000 total,” said club vice-president Mike Chicoine. “It was far beyond our expectations.”
He said the $26,000 raised in rider pledges took them above and beyond what they expected, and combined with $4,400 from the silent auction, $7,500 from registration fees and a $5,000 donation from Scotiabank the total amount was staggering.
Riders came from Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Barrie and across the Ottawa Valley to participate in the event.
The riders started at the Mountain Township Agricultural Hall in South Mountain and enjoyed about 100 km of groomed winter trails between Winchester and Kemptville, stopping along the way at two warming fires and to eat a hot lunch. Returning to the hall, riders were served dinner and raised an additional $4,415 with a silent auction. Local businesses supported the event with thousands of dollars of auction items and prizes for the riders.
“At the end of the day it was the riders, their friends, family and co-workers that made the biggest contribution, raising a total of $26,041.50 in pledges for the Ride for Dad charity,” Chicoine said.
He said he hopes the day’s success will encourage other clubs to plan their own rides.
“The support is there from the community and the riders,” he said. “All it takes is some people to organize it and the event kind of takes on a life of its own.”
The second annual Nation Valley Chapter ATV Ride for Dad is already scheduled for March 1, 2014. Chicoine said he hopes the next ride will be bigger and better. Members of the organizing group want to bring in 300 riders and extend their fundraising challenge beyond Ontario Federation of ATV chapter members.
“We want to just expand the competitive nature of it with other clubs,” he said.