Espanola Firefighters ATV Poker Run set for Sept. 21

Photo supplied Part of the fun of the Espanola Firefighters ATV Poker Run for Muscular Dystrophy is finding out just how deep the mud puddle actually is. This man did not back down from the challenge.

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Ryan Courtemanche, one of the organizers of this year’s Espanola Firefighters ATV Poker Run for Muscular Dystrophy, says there are still tickets left to get in on this fun ride, but they are going fast. Last year, 250 tickets were sold raising close to $11,000. After expenses $10,500 was donated to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. This year, they are hoping to raise even more.

With that in mind the firefighters are selling 300 tickets. The riders pay $50 to participate in the run, which includes a spaghetti supper and prizes.

Courtemanche says as the day of the event gets closer, tickets will most likely sell out. Last year, every ticket sold with a run of last minute riders for the few remaining tickets. Some of those riders lost out on the opportunity to participate. This kind of event doesn’t depend on there being nice weather since a lot of the riders are planning on getting wet and muddy anyway.

“Rain or shine, we are going to run.”

A lot of businesses also get on board to support this event. Some of them contribute money to offset the expense of putting on the event; others supply prizes, or a combination of the two. The prizes collected to date range from gift cards for merchandise and food, clothing, helmets, hats, duffle bags, tumblers, an Instant Pot, a huge cooler, a Fisherman’s set, and even a half-day adventure tour. Tanner’s YIG supplied the early bird prize of $100 President’s Choice gift card.

Many local businesses sell tickets to the run as well as offering a prize. Prizes also come from businesses in Sudbury, Little Current, Nairn Centre and Massey. Local radio station, The Moose 99.3 FM CJJM and the Town of Espanola are also supporters. A lot of behind-the-scenes assistance comes from the volunteers, who help with the registration, cleaning of the bikes and just generally make sure everything runs smoothly.

Those businesses selling tickets include Garnet’s Sales and Service, Trailside Sports, Home Hardware, Riverview Variety in Sagamok, Orr’s Value Mart in Little Current and Rivet Insurance Brokers in Sudbury. They can also be purchased from the firefighters.

The morning of Sept. 21 all of the riders will gather at Boogie Mountain to register. Registration takes place from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Then they will head down Bass Lake Road to Fox Lake and follow the rail bed to House Lake, which is the mid-point of the ride.

Courtemanche says usually there is a large gathering of bikes there for a rest period and lunch break. Then the riders have a choice of taking the rail bed back, which will keep them out of the mud, or returning on the muddy trail to Fox Lake and then back to Bass Lake Road.

The riders can take the trail ride at their own pace, which includes stopping whenever they wish, but they are all encouraged to be back at Boogie Mountain by 5 p.m. for a spaghetti supper and the awarding of the prizes. The staff at Boogie Mountain will be preparing the meal.

There is no age limit for riders. Courtemanche says the youngest rider he’s seen was three years old and it ranges up to people in their late 60’s. The children don’t need to pay, but they must be accompanied by an adult, bring their own food and they are not eligible for prizes.

Meagan Wills, walk ambassador for Muscular Dystrophy, will also be attending the event. She spoke to the riders last year about how the disease has affected her, physically and emotionally. All of the money raised goes to Muscular Dystrophy Canada for their service programs, financial assistance to purchase assistive devices, and research. Currently, there is no cure for this disease.

Information about the event can be found by going to https://www.facebook.com/EFDmudrun/.

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