Although raising money for needy families is always meaningful, this year’s annual Ronald McDonald House Ride is going to have a special significance as motorcyclists start roaring from New York Mills  on June 8.  After this year’s totals are factored in, participants are likely to have raised a total of over one million dollars during the twelve years the ride has been held to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo-Moorhead.

“We’re the world’s largest benefit ride for the Ronald McDonald House,” said organizer Scott Anderson. “It helps a lot of families.”

Anderson said the ride first came about as a means of supporting a fellow biker whose child was seriously ill and whose family frequently stayed at the Ronald McDonald House when the child was being treated. Since then, the ride has grown into a regional event that drew 1507 motorcycles last year. According to the 2010 census, that’s more people than the entire population of New York Mills, where the event is organized.

 Anderson said last year’s ride also assembled 3,476 pounds of pop tabs that took up 54 thirty-gallon barrels and equaled $2,008 in aluminum when they were turned in.

Suzi Karvonen, a member of the ride’s board of directors, said the ride was one of the major funding sources for the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo.

“We’re very proud of what we do,” she said.

The event starts out with two live bands performing at the New York Mills VFW on June 7. The ride leaves from there at noon the following day and goes to the Wolf Lake before motoring to the Wadena Elks Lodge and finally returning to New York Mills for camping and concerts by two more live bands. For more information, visit the ride’s website at