Ride for a Vet charity event sees strong support

By Angela Brown
July 15, 2018 - 2:10pm

The 16th Annual Ride for a Vet Charity Poker Run got off to a good start  Saturday, as a long procession of motorbikes rolled and rumbled through North Battleford.

The fundraiser was hosted by the Battlefords branch of the Canadian Legion of Riders, established in 2006. The organization supports veterans, troops, cadets and scouts.

One of the riders, Meota resident Hubert Esquirol, said this will mark the fourth time he completed the ride.    

"I come here once a year just for this event," he said. "I come to this rally because it serves a very good cause. It's important to me because it helps remind us of the veterans that made a special contribution. It's important we keep their legacy alive because too often we forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

 

He started biking when he was 60 years old and appreciates taking part in the event. Esquirol said Second World War veteran Henry Carriere used to live in Meota before he passed away, so Esquirol was thinking of him during the ride.

"He was a very good family friend," said Esquirol. "When my children were small I invited him to our house so my children could meet a real veteran. It had a lasting impression."

Moose Jaw rider Eric Genest, a veteran who served in the air force in Saskatchewan, was very supportive of the fundraiser.

"The money goes towards veteran organizations, which is much needed," said Genest. "We get a lot of support from the community, so I think it's a very, very good thing."

Participants in Saturday’s 330-km  ride started at the Royal Canadian Legion in North Battleford and then travelled to Hafford, Blaine Lake, Shell Lake, through Spiritwood and Glaslyn to Meota. The ride ended under a big tent in Meota where a banquet and dance was planned. There was also a performance by Rosetta and The Bush Pies as part of the Rockin' the Rink fundraiser.

Gordon Hildebrand, President of the Battlefords branch of the Canadian Legion of Riders, said numbers were a little lower this year, with about 160 riders registered, likely due to the overcast skies. About 200 riders took part last year. He said he was pleased with the turnout nonetheless while adding how funds raised will support local programs. Hildebrand said it's great to see the event in its 16th year. 

He said riders often come from as far as Thompson, Man., and Cold Lake, Alta., to participate. Looking to the future, Hildebrand said he is working with the local Royal Canadian Legion about the possibility of creating a crisis fund to assist veterans who have immediate needs.

“The process of getting support for veterans usually takes weeks, sometimes months,” he said. “Often times they need something right now. That's what we're hoping to do."

 

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