For years local motorcyclists held the annual Syd’s Fun Run tour, started in 1980 by local Harley Davidson dealer Syd Bates, to raise money for muscular dystrophy.
Initially, the small group of riders would go out on Good Friday and ride down through the U.S., picking up fellow riders along the way.
Bates left the area in 1993 and the event languished and died off only to revived in 2009 by local business owner and one of the original group of riders, Les Schultz.
The re-invigorated fundraiser maintained the original date and route but after running into spring snowfalls and experiencing ever-increasing delays at the Canada/US border the group changed tactics last year.
“We had gotten to the place where we had two groups, one riding down through the States and another that stayed in Canada riding through Kaslo,” said this year’s Fun Run organizer, Vic Friesen.
“We decided that the point was to get as many people together and raise as much money as we could so we wanted to all ride together in Canada.”
Friesen said that along with the decision to change the route of the fundraiser they also changed the date, reasoning that, by doing the run on the first weekend in May, there would be a lesser chance of running into snow and more riders with their bikes on the road.
The changes appear to have made a difference in the number of riders and the money raised by the event with the tally increasing from just 67 riders and $900 raised in 2009 to 120 riders raising over $2,000 last year.
This year the route has been altered slightly again; the same starting point at Leather and Steel in Fruitvale with registration between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., departure at 9:30 a.m. travelling to Trail, Castlegar, and then onto the Lakeside Prestige in Nelson where the group will meet up with the Nelson Fire Department and a youth who lives with muscular dystrophy.
The riders will then carry on to Kaslo for a brunch at the Kaslo Hotel, then through Ymir and Salmo and back to Fruitvale to meet up with the firefighters at the Fruitvale fire hall for a barbecue and silent auction.
“All the money we make through registrations and the silent auction goes directly to the M.D. office in Vancouver,” said Friesen. “Money made from burger and hot dog sales by the firefighters goes to the Fruitvale firefighters charitable fund. Both the Harley Davidson company and firefighters have had a long connection with muscular dystrophy so this just seems like a natural fit.”
For more information on Syd’s Fun Run for Muscular Dystrophy call Vic Friesen at (250) 364-3078.