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Photo by Brittin Roberts The first few bikes of over 1,000 round the corner on the way out of New York Mills. $120,951.83 was raised as of June 15.

Ronald McDonald House Ride made up of many faces

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When asked, the majority of riders stated their number one reason for attending the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Ride was because it was for a good cause.

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Participants of the ride generated $120,951.83 as of a Tuesday press release, with donations still coming in. The ride started at the New York Mills VFW.

More than 1,000 bikes were seen, and the only thing surpassing the uniqueness of the different motorcycles were the many faces of the participants.

First year rider Robin Morzek of Montrose was invited by friends. He had never heard of the ride. But upon being notified, he brought four tickets from his place of employment, Nickelodeon Universe, in Bloomington. The tickets were a donation to the cause.

As a newcomer, Morzek represented charity amongst charity, the real reason behind the ride, apart from the enjoyment of getting out with the wind in one's hair.

Other donations given away during the post-ride ceremony at the VFW were a 2010 Harley-Davidson won by Mike Dobson of Perham and a Percy Harvin autographed guitar awarded to Dennis Jansen of Rice.

Across the highway at the NY Mills high school, parents and 150 children participated in the RMH bike rodeo. 1,200 gallons of pop tabs were collected as part of the bike rodeo and 26 pedal bikes were given away to kids who participated in Ronald's bike safety course.

The spirit of giving was not left to just the humans involved in the ride. Ali Mae Wacker, a six-year-old yellow lab and now a three-year veteran of the RMH ride, got to participate with the help of her owner Jewel Wacker, of NY Mills.

"She goes everywhere I go, but she was never able to go when I went riding," Wacker said.

To accommodate her canine friend, Wacker enlisted the help of L&L Fabrication and Steel Company in Perham to create a basket on the back of her bike that would safely hold Ali Mae.

Jewel has participated in every ride but the inaugural and is happy to do it with her enthusiastic pup.

"When the bikes start up, she's ready to go," Wacker said. "She jumps right up on the bike."

Ali Mae and the throng of riders were not dismayed or delayed by the rainy conditions Saturday.

"I come rain or shine," said Richard Murphy of Clitherall.

Murphy has a history with people close to him benefiting from Ronald McDonald House charities.

A friend of his had a baby born with heart problems. While being treated, the baby and her family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo.

"I thought about that when I heard about the ride seven years ago and said I'm going to go."

Murphy has been coming back every year joined by Mary Murphy, in her fifth year. Mary's family has also been touched by the generosity of RMH.

"My sister-in-law stayed at RMH and also a first cousin," she said. "It's just wonderful."

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