Ride for the Troops shows support
Bemidji's third annual Ride for the Troops, a 130-mile motorcycle event to raise funds in support of Bemidji National Guard troops, will be held Sunday.
"There are National Guard soldiers within this community who are still deployed," said National Guard Staff Sgt. Seth Martell.
Headquarters for the event will be in the parking lot at MarketPlace Food & Drug in the Westridge Center. Non-riders are welcome to attend all of the day's events.
More than 300 riders took part last year, raising $17,000. Martell said he expects another good turnout this year.
Part of the proceeds from the events will provide credit cards deployed soldiers can use in the PX.
"A lot of the guys while they were in theater used it to buy things to give the kids," Martell said.
In addition to gifts to children being a good will gesture, Martell said soldiers are more likely to be safe if children are around.
Another portion of the proceeds will go to the Minnesota Military Family Fund to help families with emergency expenses while their soldier is deployed.
Martell said the proceeds will also be used, in part, as a donation toward the memorial to Staff Sgt. Joshua Robert Hanson, a National Guard soldier who died Aug. 30, 2006, when a roadside bomb ripped through his Humvee in Iraq. Hanson, a resident of Dent, Minn., was assigned to Company A, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, which is based in Bemidji and Detroit Lakes.
A pancake breakfast will be served from 9-11:30 a.m. under the tent. Registration for the ride will begin at 9 a.m. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., and the ride will begin at noon.
A "hawg lunch" will be served starting at 3 p.m., and a stretch ticket auction and door prizes will take place throughout the day. Closing ceremonies will be held after the ride at approximately 4:30 p.m.
The fee for riders is $25, plus an additional $10 for passengers. That includes the ride, breakfast and lunch.