Each year, as the end of winter approaches, ATVers in Southeastern Ontario look forward to one of the last rides of the cold season: The NATVC Telus Ride for Dad. On March 7 of this year, we celebrated the third edition of this annual event and were happy to see it surpass all previous years in funds raised. 230 participants, countless volunteers, and dozens of sponsors were on hand to raise $57,000 for prostate cancer research and awareness!
The day began with participants arriving at the South Mountain Fairgrounds and being directed to a parking space on the racetrack by the local volunteer fire department. After unloading and riding their ATV up to the main Agricultural Hall, participants went inside and were directed to the proper line-up to get registered, turn in their pledges and get their grab-bag. While inside, participants got to take in the items set out for the silent auction that would be taking place that evening, and to see the mountain of prizes waiting for lucky participants when they returned.
The Ride for Dad had three celebrity riders on hand this year: Ottawa Senators Alumni Moe Robinson and John Barrett, and local radio personality Amanda Kingsland from Country 101.1. The celebrity riders were outfitted with ATV's from Allan Johnston's Repair & Sales in Metcalfe, ON and Jim's Performance Plus in Iroquois, ON.
Kawartha Lakes ATV Association President, Carolyn Richards, and Vice President Mark La Croix came all the way from Kawartha Lakes to see how an ATV Ride for Dad is organized. KATVA will be hosting their first Ride for Dad this upcoming June.
At 10 am, the riders gathered outside for the acknowledgement of sponsors, and local prostate cancer survivors. Councillor George Darouze was on hand to say a few words on behalf of the City of Ottawa ward that the Nation Valley ATV Club has attained ATV by-laws for. Followed by a brief driver's speech, Nation Valley ATV Club wardens led the celebrities out the gate and were quickly followed by several hundred anxious riders!
It was a rough day out on the trails that day, as March in eastern Ontario can be unpredictable. High winds overnight, and above normal temperatures the day of made some of the trails a challenge to traverse, but everyone made it back in one piece, even if their machine did not!
The first few trails were sheltered from the drifting snow overnight and riders were treated to a great start of the morning with warm temperatures and great trails. Some trails got a bit more difficult as the morning progressed, and a bit of pushing and towing was required. Partway through the morning, riders came upon the first warming fire on the 400-acre trail. Local township volunteers had a roaring bonfire going for warming fingers and toes, and the first of many stories of who got stuck, and who didn't began!
After fuelling themselves and their machines, everyone set off for the second half of the ride!
Members of the Volunteer Fire Department were also out and about all day, driving the “meat-wagon,” a truck and trailer on-call to pick up any broken-down ATVs and their riders.
Several tough trails later, the Volunteer Fire Department had a second warming fire waiting for everyone. More stories of the adventures had since lunch ensued, and then everyone quickly hit the trail once more to ride the last leg of the journey: back to the Agricultural Hall.
Back at the hall, riders picked up their prizes, took in the silent auction, cast their bids, and partook the roast beef dinner. Hockey Trivia Expert Liam MaGuire was the master of ceremonies for the evening, and tested everyone's knowledge of hockey history.
The top 10 pledge earners were recognized and awarded their Ottawa Senator hockey tickets, courtesy of the Ottawa Senators Alumni, and five additional prizes were drawn for the top 10. The Ottawa Senators Alumni presented a donation of $5000 to the cause, and the South Mountain Scotiabank matched the funds raised in the silent auction, presenting an additional $5,000 cheque to the Ride for Dad.
Several gag prizes were awarded for first breakdown, furthest traveled, and fuel gift cards to those who had pulled out the most stuck ATV's throughout the day!
The 2015 Ride for Dad Committee was brought on stage to acknowledge the hard work and dedication, and Ride for Dad Co-Chairs Dave Baker and Theo Janssen thanked everyone for taking part in the event, and read out the final tally of $57,000 raised for Prostate Cancer Research and Awareness!
The Nation Valley ATV Club would like to thank all of the volunteers, landowners, participants, sponsors, and all those involved in making the third annual event a record breaking success!