Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Riding for all the right reasons

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From left, Winnipeg Police Service officers and Ride for Dad co-chairs Kirk Van Alstyne and Moe Sabourin, with spokesperson Ed Johner and top pledge earner Tony Kusiak, who single-handedly raised more than $13,000.

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From left, Winnipeg Police Service officers and Ride for Dad co-chairs Kirk Van Alstyne and Moe Sabourin, with spokesperson Ed Johner and top pledge earner Tony Kusiak, who single-handedly raised more than $13,000.

Last Saturday's 5th annual Manitoba Motorcycle Ride for Dad saw 1,002 riders and their passengers raise more than $215,000 in support of prostate cancer research and education.

As well as shattering records for attendance and money raised, Ride for Dad spokesperson and prostate cancer survivor Ed Johner said this year's ride also heightened awareness surrounding prostate cancer.

"Informing men and their families of the need for early detection of prostate cancer is one of the pillars of the Ride for Dad," Johner said. "This year's awareness campaign has been outstanding."

The ride departed from Polo Park Shopping Centre and travelled west down Portage Avenue in a police-escorted parade to Assiniboia Downs, then north to Gimli and back. The day ended with a wind-up party at Cowboys nightclub at Canad Inn Windsor Park.

Riders from all facets of the local motorcycle community participated. There were leather-clad bikers on massive Harley-Davidsons, sporty riders on colourful crotch-rockets, and even a few brave souls on speedy scooters.

"Today's great turnout is a testament to the community spirit and support shown by Manitobans," Johner said. "Our goals were to reach 1,000 registered riders and raise over $150,000 in pledges, and we surpassed both today."

The money raised this year brings the event's five-year total to more than $500,000. All proceeds stay in Manitoba for prostate cancer research and education.

Hot on the wheels of Ride for Dad is another local ride in support of an equally important cause. The 12th annual Breast Cancer Pledge Ride will roar out of Assiniboia Downs on Sunday.

Last year, 650 riders and their passengers raised more than $120,000 for the cause. To date, the event has generated $535,000 in support of the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.

Founded by Georgette Jhass, the pledge ride not only raises money and awareness for breast cancer, but also serves to promote the motorcycle hobby.

Supplementing this fun-filled event will be an appearance by American bike builder Paul Yaffe, known worldwide for his Bagger Nation magazine and line of motorcycle parts and accessories. He's also appeared on Discovery Channel's popular Biker Build-Off series.

Dan Roche, owner of NC Machine and one of Manitoba's elite custom motorcycle builders, is bringing in Yaffe to judge the "Baddest Bagger in Winnipeg" custom motorcycle show, held at Assiniboia Downs on Sunday in conjunction with the ride.

Registration takes place from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. with riders departing from the Downs at their leisure for a ride to Winnipeg Beach and back.

For more details regarding the Breast Cancer Pledge Ride or to make a donation, check out www.breastcancerpledgeride.com

willy@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 F2

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