By Justin Seward
Sunny South News
Fifty-four motorcyclist from near and afar put their kickstands up for the inaugural Coaldale Ride for Dad and Rods on Saturday.
Ride for Dad is a nationwide initiative that began in 2000 and raises funds to help in the fight against prostate cancer and to help save men’s lives and improve the quality of families who are faced with living with this disease.
The first Coaldale ride unofficially raised $7,801 and will go back into the Prostate Cancer Care Foundation in Alberta.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” said Mark Anderson, Coaldale Ride for Dad chair.
“The weather was great. Riders went out in groups of 10 or 12. We had three poker run stops out on the route and at each of the poker stops everybody waited until everybody was there. So everywhere we went, in the different little towns we stopped, we had all 54 bikes lined up.”
Anderson said a little bit of a donation war was happening at the dinner reception.
“People on the floor were upping the donations to each of the participants until there was finally somebody who had the highest number of donations,” he said.
The Coaldale leg began the planning to land a local Ride for Dad chapter in the community in February.
“I moved to Coaldale for employment here and when there wasn’t a ride south of Calgary, I started spreading the word,” said Anderson.
“I wanted a ride down here. It’s just as important in southern Alberta as it is in central and northern. So I started asking a few friends and Adam Parker and Chenairy Stalwick and my wife Carol, we sat down and said let’s try and push for a ride and Ride for Dad Canada heard about us and has been helping in the background to get organized and set up.”
Anderson had been involved in the ride since 2014 when he was residing in Calgary and having history of men’s cancer in their family.
“We have a history of men’s cancers in our family that really compelled me to get involved and to learn about it and I thought Ride for Dad was a good fit for me personally and I also have a very good friend of mine who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and because of early detection he has been cancer-free ever since,” said Anderson.
Stalwick hopes days like this will continue the conversation year-round.
“One is grow it, because if we’re growing it, it means the conversation is happening as well,” she said.
“We want to make sure the conversation continues past today regardless of the outcome of today. We want people to keep having those conversations with their brothers or their fathers, grandfathers or their kids and making sure that early detection is there. And other part is we want to make sure that it happens year over year.”
John Weise, owner of Full Throttle Cycles, was a volunteer marshal for safety on behalf of Ride for Dad and explained what events like these mean to riders.
“Well, every rider I’ve ever met in my life takes it extremely serious,” he said.
“Whether it’s helping children out or cancer or abuse, human trafficking or whatever, there’s a lot of different foundations— Full Throttle is one of them … And bikers, we’re a very strong community. It doesn’t matter which organization or club you belong to, we all come together to form one for a greater good.”
The Coaldale board has been invited to the national conference in Edmonton and be introduced as a chapter membership in October.
After that it will be about growing increasing the size of the organizing committee for next year’s ride
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