Watercraft Ride for Dad expands number of riders this year, raises $10,000

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The organizer of the third annual Watercraft Ride for Dad said the event has grown by “leaps and bounds” with this year being the best yet.

Watercraft Ride for Dad1 Watercraft Ride for Dad2Steve Kidd noted this year’s Watercraft Ride for Dad, which was held last Sunday, drew 82 participants and 74 riders, including 59 that pre-registered for the event. The entire ride last year drew 55 watercraft operators, he said.

“It’s amazing to think our event is a financial success even before we hit the water,” said Kidd. “We’re growing by leaps and bounds. The support for the Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation is fantastic.”

This year’s ride raised approximately $10,000. It started at Ranta Marina, went to Amherst Point thanks to the generosity of private beach owners, and then returned to Ranta Marina where a dinner was held.

“We have people who come as far away as the London area,” said Kidd.

Several others came in from Chatham-Kent with a strong contingent of local riders from Essex County and Windsor as well, he added. Many come in for the sport, as Kidd notes there aren’t a lot of group rides so many riders come in to enjoy that.

Kidd said he started the Watercraft Ride for Dad after someone he knew was diagnosed with the disease. Through early detection and proper treatment, that man was back riding a watercraft roughly one year later.

Ride for Dad Canada president Garry Janz said the entire Ride for Dad concept began when he was doing a documentary on cancer survivors.

“I didn’t know anything about prostate cancer and how serious it can be,” he said.

The Ottawa resident said he went for lunch one day with someone he met through that documentary and was floored when told the man was going to spend his day planning his own funeral due to not being diagnosed with prostate cancer soon enough.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” said Janz.

After that, he wanted to do something and came up with the motorcycle version of Ride for Dad. The first year was in 2010 in Ottawa with 80 riders and that city’s ride has since expanded to 2,400 riders. Other cities and towns started calling him and the Ride for Dad quickly expanded and also has grown to include ATV’s, snowmobiles, and thanks to Kidd, watercraft.

“It wasn’t long before we were in every province in Canada,” he said.

There are 43 events which have now raised approximately $10 million for prostate cancer awareness and research.

“It’s so exciting to see events take off,” he said. “It’s humbling and it’s exhilarating all at the same time.”

Going coast-to-coast and seeing people wearing the Ride for Dad T-shirts brings tears to his eyes but he said the best thing about it is when he talks to people about it. Many will tap him on the shoulder and thank him for saving their life due to the awareness and research the events have raised.

“That’s what keeps us going,” said Janz.

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