Bob Probert Memorial Ride brings the roar of the road to Amherstburg

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

The sound of motorcycles could be heard and felt in the streets of Amherstburg Sunday afternoon.

The annual Bob Probert Memorial Ride brought well over 1,400 motorcycle enthusiasts to town, all riding for the same cause – to raise money for Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital’s angioplasty program in memory of Probert, who passed away of a massive heart-attack July 5, 2010.

The event raised over $120,000 this year.

Dani Probert stands in front of a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot of The Fort Family Fun Centre  Sunday.

Dani Probert stands in front of a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot of The Fort Family Fun Centre Sunday.

“It seemed like a no-brainer at the time,” explained Probert’s wife, Dani. “He loved riding, he loved old cars, he loved this entire lifestyle and it was a nice fit for us and it’s just grown every year since that and here we are at year seven and we’re closing in on the $700,000 mark raised for cardiac care right here in Windsor-Essex. I’m pretty proud of that.”

Dani said as she was pulling in to their stop at The Fort Family Fun Centre, she was told there were still bikes leaving Thunder Road Harley Davidson, where they begun their ride.

“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, the planning that goes into it, the time that goes into it and coming up to this day is an emotional day,” said Dani. “As we celebrate Bob and it’s a reunion of sorts with all of our friends and family, and all of the participants, its also a sad reminder that he’s not here. It’s been seven years. But out of something so tragic that we’re able to pull something off like this and be positive, and to do something wonderful for our community that Bob loved so much, raising money for our home, he loved that.”

Probert was well known for being a Canadian professional ice hockey forward. He played in the NHL for the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

 

A sea of motorcycles fills the parking lot at The Fort Family Fun Centre June 25.

A sea of motorcycles fills the parking lot at The Fort Family Fun Centre June 25.

He is also well known for being a great father to his kids Brogan, Tierney, Jack and Declyn, ages 23 through 17, who Dani believes will be on bikes in the ride in no time.

Rider Ward McNab has been participating in the ride for five years, and knew Probert as a teenager. He said he loves the ride, and appreciates that it’s for a great cause.

Buck Twenty took the stage to entertain riders as they enjoyed their first stop on their ride through Essex County Sunday.

Buck Twenty took the stage to entertain riders as they enjoyed their first stop on their ride through Essex County Sunday.

“I just remember him being a real fun-loving kid, and really dedicated to the sport of hockey,” said McNab. “I think this is a great event, the family just puts together an awesome event. I hope it keeps growing like it has been.”

Remembering Probert,, Dani said he was a young rider who began riding in his twenties. She said he got his first Harley in 1993, followed by another bike in 1994, and soon he had a garage full of bikes of all types and styles. She said he really enjoyed it, he had a passion for bikes.

“Bob was just a big kid,” said Dani. “He was an awesome father and I love to see my kids smiling today when we get to hear stories from fans and old teammates, they share stories that we’ve never heard before and as a mom that’s the most important part for me, for them to experience bits of their dad through old team mates and family.”

The 2017 Bob Probert Ride also made another stop in Amherstburg this year, as they also pulled into Wolfhead Distillery as part of the day’s events.

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