GORE BAY – A barbecue at this time of the year is not an unusual activity to be found on Manitoulin Island, but few would draw so many people from across Ontario and the United States to meet up with good friends. In the case of the annual barbecue hosted by Larry Morrison and Jennie Idle of Gore Bay, it also helps to benefit a local cause.
“This is the fifth year we have held this barbecue,” said Mr. Morrison as he filleted fish for the barbecue, which took place at the Gore Bay couple’s home this past Saturday. “It started out because we have all these friends that we bike with all the time and we decided we wanted to do something special to help out others as well.”
Mr. Morrison noted the inspiration for holding this annual barbecue was Ted and Barb Culgin. When the idea for a barbecue for all their biking friends was first broached, “we talked to Barb and Ted and they agreed to do the cooking for the first couple of years.”
Ms. Idle noted that the first year the barbecue was held it was not used as a fundraiser. However, “for the second barbecue we all decided to donate anything we raise to a worthy cause locally,” she said, pointing out attendees donate whatever funds they wish. Friends travel from venues such as Oshawa, Barrie and other parts of Ontario, as well as four bikers that travel from Ohio.
“None of this would take place if it wasn’t for the great people who take part each year,” said Ms. Idle. Well over 50 people took part in this year’s event.
Ted and Jennie buy all the fish for the barbecue supper and Cory and Sara Anderson have cooked the fish each of the last three years.
Kenny Godman is from Barrie. “About 12 of us travel every year for this event,” he told the Recorder, explaining he first met Larry and Jennie “at a motorcycle rally in New Liskeard about 15 years ago. We were all attending a fundraising event, Bikers Battling Cancer,”and we met Jennie and Larry who told us they lived in Gore Bay.”
“This annual event is not only a fun time, but what is raised goes to a good cause,” said Mr. Godman. “It has provided a lot of good memories and helping good causes.” He noted that the fundraiser held two years ago benefitted Maxim Bell, a Gore Bay youth who has spina bifida, and when his parents Mitchell Bell and Amanda Hore were told at the barbecue that the funds raised that day were going to Maxim, “they broke down and cried. This type of thing hits home big time and I’m so happy this event is helping others.”
Scott Shaull and his group of four bikers probably travelled the furthest for the barbecue, riding all the way from Findlay, Ohio.
“I met Larry and Jennie in Ottawa, Ohio. I was there at a dealership to get my motorcycle worked on, as was Larry and Jennie. The guy at the dealership said he would get to my bike and I said ‘don’t worry about my bike, help these people first.’ So he worked on their bikes. We got talking with Larry and Jennie and they asked where would be a good place to stay for the evening and where there was a good restaurant,” said Mr. Shaull.
“Then Larry hands me a piece of paper with his name and phone number on it and told me to call if we were ever on Manitoulin Island to call him,” said Mr. Shaull. “I came up to the Island two years later and called him and he remembered us. He gave us a great tour of the Island. That is how friendships are formed.”
“This is my third trip back,” said Mr. Shaull. “It is something I’ve been looking forward to all year.”
A total of $1,100 was raised at this year’s barbecue, which will going to the Strawberry Point Christian Camp.
Along with the great support from biker friends, the local couple receives support from several businesses and organizations. Randy Noble donates a big party tent that his employees put up before the event and take down after it is done; Al’s Corner Garage helps with ordering some supplies for the event; Shaw’s Septic provides the portapotties and a washstand for the event; and every year the fresh fish cooked and served at the supper is provided through Hore’s Fishery.