By Chad Koenen
Twenty years after the first Ronald McDonald Hosue Ride strolled down the streets of New York Mills, motorcycles from across the country will return to town this weekend to raise money for an organization that has touched the lives of people from young to old. And the best part is, you won’t even need to have your windows down in NY Mills to hear the roaring of motorcyles traveling down Centennial 84 Dr.
After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the world’s largest Ronald McDonald House Charity Motorcycle Ride is returning to NY Mills on Saturday and event organizers couldn’t be happier.
“It’s great to be back,” said Greg Karvonen, who is helping to organize the event. “The people when we have been out and about they are starting to come out. They want something to do and they want somewhere to go. They love the cause of the Ronald McDonald House.”
The RMH Ride began in 2002 with just 15 committee members and 15 volunteers. The ride started when a local family was experiencing hardship, while their child was sick and stayed at the Ronald McDonald Charity House of the Red River Valley.
The first year was a resounding success as the group raised $3,300. During the last official RMH Ride in 2019, the group raised over $115,600 and collected 590 gallons of pop tabs. There were also 725 motorcycles that participated in the event.
Karvonen said part of the reason for the continued success and excitement for this year’s event, is the organization that will benefit from the money raised during the RMH Ride. The Ronald McDonald House provides a place to stay for families while loved ones are receiving medical care and always has a pantry full of food for loved ones during their stay. The organization relies 100 percent on donations to operate its program. The proceeds from the RMH Ride directly benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo, N.D.
“I think all of us know somebody that has used the Ronald McDonald House and some of our crew has used it ourselves,” said Karvonen.
On Saturday, the ride will leave from the NY Mills VFW at 12 p.m. and head down N. Boardman, before heading onto E Centennial 84 Dr. Once the bikers leave NY Mills they will head to Nimrod where the group will make its first stop at the Nimrod Bar and Grill. From there, the bikers will head to Menahga where they will stop at Northbound Spirits for another opportunity to visit with the public and promote the Ronald McDonald House.
After the group stops in Menahga, they will take a scenic drive back to the NY Mills VFW and the festivities for the night.
As with years past, this weekend will feature a variety of live entertainment for those who attend. On Friday night the band Tripwire will perform and on Saturday the band TNT, an ACDC tribute band, will be making its return to the RMH Ride stage for the first time in 10 years. There will also be a variety of food, a silent auction, a raffle and over 70 acres of camping available to all those who attend.
For more information about the RMH Ride visit www.rmhride.com