Get Your Motor Running (For a Good Cause)

It’s impossible to ignore 200 motorcycles ripping down the road. That’s kind of the point, says Sean Secord, board member of the Yukon chapter of Ride for Dad.

Ride for Dad is a national event that raises funds and awareness around prostate cancer, and it takes place in Whitehorse on Saturday, June 10.

“It’s the most common cancer in men, and 90 per cent of cases are treatable, but you can’t treat what you do not know,” says Secord, noting that 65 new cases are diagnosed daily in Canada. “And men are terrible at preventative health care.”

Keeping the issue alive and up for discussion will be part of the goal when dozens of bikes take to the street in Whitehorse on June 10.

This year marks 19 years since the ride was founded in Ottawa, and eight years since it came to Yukon.

In the year 2000, 80 riders raised $20,000 at Ride for Dad’s first ever event in Ottawa. Last year, says Secord, more than 200 riders raised $40,000 at the summer ride, with an additional $40,000 raised at a January comedy night held at the High Country Inn.

Secord says the ride grows steadily each year. The goal is to keep the numbers moving in that direction.

To that end, there are a few new features this year.

At the Friday night registration at Shipyards Park, there will be a “motorcycle rodeo” including music and socialising, as well as a bit of a motorcycle show.

On the Saturday morning of the ride, riders are invited to a 9 a.m. pancake breakfast at Shipyards Park. A chorus line of can-can dancers will (literally) kick things off. There will also be speeches and recognition, including an acknowledgement of Yukoner Al Verishine who died last year. It was Verishine and his wife Leah who brought Ride for Dad to the territory eight years ago.

From there, beginning at 11 a.m., participants will parade along Front Street and Main Street before heading along Miles Canyon Road for a staging of the bikes and a photo opportunity at Schwatka Lake. They then complete the Jake’s Corner/Tagish/Carcross loop.

Nine sponsors along the route will welcome riders. For each sponsor visited, riders receive a ticket to enter draw towards a variety of prizes from other sponsors. There’s also a draw for a 2017 Honda Rebel 300. The Honda Rebel is drawn from ballots obtained by bringing a new rider, being a new rider, and for every $100 in donations raised. 

Additionally, a number of door prizes have been donated by local businesses in town. The top three fundraisers will also take home prizes. These include Air North tickets, a TV donated by The Brick, and a foosball table from Waterstone Products.

Last year’s top three were John Gullison with $2,162, Pierre Allard with $3,695, and David Hett with $3,745.

The prizes will be awarded at the post-ride barbecue which, like the pancake breakfast, is included in the $30 registration fee paid by each rider.

While the public is invited out to watch at any time (registration is Friday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and the ride takes place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), the pancake breakfast and barbecue are limited to riders.

The best way to get involved as a non-rider is to pledge to one of the participants or come out to support them as they ride by.

Secord says the funds raised in the Yukon stay in the Yukon. A portion is spent on raising awareness of prostate cancer in the territory, and a portion goes into a nest egg the board is saving to help fund research and treatment once the best avenue for that is identified.

This October, for example, the Yukon chapter of Ride for Dad will host the National Ride for Dad summit. More than 100 chapter representatives from across Canada will meet to share stories and ideas about awareness, research, and treatment, as well as to facilitate collaboration on screening and treatment options.

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