Transforming lives of people in need, a special horseback ride in the South Parkland region of the province has become more than an inner social circle of friends, since its beginning 15 years ago.
The first Ride For Life, held at Horod located 14 kilometres north of Elphinstone on Provincial Road 354, had 65 riders and generated $3,000.
This year’s weekend event held in August had 190 riders of all ages saddling up and 10 to 15 wagons hitting the trail, plus approximately 650 for supper (down from over 800 last year). Overall the 15th annual event that includes an auction and dance grossed $32,000 for the non-profit, charitable organization founded by a group of people with common interests – a love for horseback riding and helping those who have a need.
“Although it’s a lot of work, people are coming from farther and farther each year for the Ride For Life,” said Rudy Zurbyk, a board member for 14 years. “This year, we hosted people from the neighbouring provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario, along with others from the area and across Manitoba.”
With a large number of participants camping on-site along the Little Saskatchewan River, the weekend is one of peacefulness, tranquillity and beauty in a natural setting, as the ride goes through pasture land trails along Riding Mountain National Park.
During the past 15 years, the money raised through the charity has provided assistance to a number of people in various parts of the province including Beulah, Boissevain, Brandon, Carberry, Elphinstone, Lake Audy, Oakburn, Onanole, Inglis, Rossburn and Shilo. These individuals and families required assistance for medical expenses or for starting over after their home and belongings were destroyed by fire.
Ride For Life president, Darrell Dinko of Elphinstone, is very grateful for the community’s generosity and support.
“It’s amazing how the festivities have grown,” said Dinko, “not only from a rider standpoint, but also the supper and auction. The committee is indeed blessed to have a great group of people in making the event grow to what it has become today.”
Support shown has allowed the relatively small but active committee, which is assisted by other interested citizens over the weekend, to disperse around $90,000 in 14 years.
Contact Dinko at (204) 625- 5319 if you’d like to become involved in Ride For Life, where down-home hospitality shines brightly in a caring manner.
– Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba