PROVIDENCE BAY— This past weekend across Manitoulin large groups of motorcyclists were spotted across the Island taking in the beautiful scenery during the fifth annual Ride Manitoulin motorcycle rally.

A group of riders stops for lunch in Little Current before heading back on their ride across Manitoulin as part of the Ride Manitoulin motorcycle rally.  photos by Robin Burridge
A group of riders stops for lunch in Little Current before heading back on their ride across Manitoulin as part of the Ride Manitoulin motorcycle rally. photos by Robin Burridge

“It was a fabulous weekend,” said Ride Manitoulin Committee Chair Roger Vilkarsis. “We had a great group of bikers and I think we came close, if not met, our $2,000 fundraising goal for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.”

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“Everyone was so generous,” added Ride Manitoulin Committee Secretary Cindi Vilkarsis. “We have $1,500 in direct donations alone on Saturday. We are still figuring out the totals from the weekend, but yes, I think we are going to reach our fundraising goal.”

Johnny Williams and Mac Shenette, both of Sudbury, give two thumbs up to Ride Manitoulin. It was Mr. Williams third year  attending the rally, while it was Mr. Shenette’s first.
Johnny Williams and Mac Shenette, both of Sudbury, give two thumbs up to Ride Manitoulin. It was Mr. Williams third year attending the rally, while it was Mr. Shenette’s first.

“We had over 250 bikers throughout the weekend, and over 100 walk-ins,” said Mr. Vilkarsis. “We were also pleased with all our great vendors and partnering with MIDRA (Manitoulin Island Dirt Riders Association) who held a sanctioned motocross racing event.”

There were 49 entries at the MIDRA event, with riders from Timmins, Sudbury, Hearst and Manitoulin.

“We had a lot of new riders this year,” said Ms. Vilkarsis. “The whole weekend had a real family feel—very personal.”

Bikers came from across Canada for the rally this year, with the biker riding the furthest for the event coming from Fort McMurray, Alberta.

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Throughout the weekend bikers participated in numerous rides across Manitoulin include the point of interest ride, poker run, scenic ride and adventure ride.

The winner of the poker run and a $420 cash prize was Launce Bango.

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Riders also enjoyed great live entertainment from the Johnny Williams Trio and Blackwater, a show n’ shine and biker games.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation was founded in 1982 and is a non-profit organization that “partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world,” states the organization’s website. “For over 23 years the Starlight Children’s Foundation has been transforming the lives of Canadian children who live with serious illness and their families. What makes us unique is that we are there for the entire journey—from the emergency room to recovery.”

“We have granted several wishes over the years for Island kids such as trips to Disneyland, computers and even a trip to Texas,” explained Manitoulin volunteer wish granter Linda Taylor. “Most recently, we purchased a PlayStation for youth at Health Sciences North in Sudbury.”

Ms. Taylor commented that the donation from Ride Manitoulin will be greatly appreciated by the organization and will help make other Island youth’s dreams become a reality.