Fred & Nancy Klassen are committed supporters of Global Shore and live in the small community of Gem, Alberta. We had contacted them about a month prior to the below event to brainstorm fundraising possibilities as we have provincial fundraising targets for each of the four provinces where we have a presence (BC, AB, MB and ON). While it was a great conversation, we hung up on a “probably nothing will work” kind of note, thinking maybe borscht or homemade goods might generate small donations. We were utterly delighted therefore to wake up one Saturday with the news that an entire Bike Fundraiser had been organized in their community and was happening that very day. The Klassen’s determination to generate awareness and support was incredibly encouraging and we were all thrilled with the event that was pulled off and resulting support that was raised to benefit the school in Guatemala. Below is Nancy’s perspective of how it all came together.
It was the Perfect Ride…..winding through the hills and taking the curves along the Red Deer River valley, within the Badlands of Alberta. I smiled as I thought of our mom, grandma and six boys in Guatemala. I pictured the children at the school in Tizate running around at recess and the faces of many of our dear friends who work together to teach and nurture these precious ones. Sitting on the back of a bike for so many hours gives one plenty of time to Praise the Lord!!!
When it was suggested that I make some jam and add this to a bake sale, as a fundraiser, I knew that was NOT happening! These are nothing special in my farming community. I was paying little attention to Fred when he said something about a bike ride. A bike ride for a fundraiser here in Gem? Really? Just like a guy!
OK…what…four bikes? Fred met with a friend and it was “a go” for THIS Saturday. There would be a fee of $30 per bike, with the suggestion that donations would also be accepted. Fred shared his idea with several farm dealerships, and they generously donated items as door prizes. Incredulously, I began preparing for the barbecue we planned to host in our back yard, after the ride.
The ride begins at 10:00 a.m with everyone meeting at our Community Hall. As Fred and I pull up, we are shocked at the sight of 14 bikes! (another bike meets us at the main highway). Everyone is eager to begin the day! Fred explains our purpose and leads in a prayer for safety. Twenty-one very “COOL BIKERS” head out on an adventure orchestrated and blessed by our AWESOME God!
I like bike riding….but a whole day of this?? I’m not exactly a “seasoned” biker. However, it looks to me like the guys are “pumped”…revving their engines, giving a “thumbs up”, embracing the wind as it gently blows against us.
We head towards Drumheller, making our way down into the heart of the Badlands. We take the famous Wayne Trail; well travelled by fellow bikers, who enjoy the scenic, out-of-the-ordinary drive to nowhere. The road twists and turns, taking us over eleven narrow, single-lane bridges. We stop for lunch at the Last Chance Saloon, a one hundred year old hotel and Cafe, where we all enjoy a time of visiting and dining outdoors, surrounded by hills, cactus and rock.
Our next adventure takes us to the cable operated, Bleriot Ferry, which crosses the Red Deer River. It was a FREE seven minute ride: and despite our skepticism, all bikes made it on together, for the crossing.
We continue on and climb towards our last stop of the day – HorseShoe Canyon. Here we stand high above the canyon floor, looking down over the vast expanse of visible layers of sediment that stretch along the ancient riverbed. Caves and caverns, sand dunes and rock formations, along with the strange phenomenon of hoodoos, hold us spellbound. The skeletons of many prehistoric dinosaurs have been discovered in this area.
Now it’s time to head home. We arrive at 6:00pm completing a ride of 400 kilometres. Our group, now 40, includes spouses who didn’t ride, our children and grandchildren, and a group from Calgary. Our friend, his son, along with three students from Germany who work at our camp in Sundre, were here for their annual gopher hunting adventure on our farm (hey, maybe I’m on to something for next year’s fundraiser!)
What a great day! Nobody was in a hurry to leave. We were still sharing stories and enjoying our coffee as the sun was setting, at 10:30pm. As we reflected on our day, it was evident that God had given us the PERFECT RIDE!!! (we raised $3500.00 for Global Shore!)