Ride draws more than 1,000 bikers
by Kevin Cederstrom, New York Mills Herald The goal was to break a thousand. And when Mike Ramsay made the big announcement immediately following Saturday's Ronald McDonald House Benefit Ride in New York Mills that 1,020 registered bikes with rou...
by Kevin Cederstrom,
New York Mills Herald
The goal was to break a thousand. And when Mike Ramsay made the big announcement immediately following Saturday's Ronald McDonald House Benefit Ride in New York Mills that 1,020 registered bikes with roughly 1,600 riders participated in the event, the crowd gathered at the VFW cheered.
Just in its sixth year, the annual event had grown from 150 motorcycles the first year to more than 1,000, surpassing last year's record-breaking 870.
With contributions still coming into the organizing committee, early estimates indicate the 2007 RMH Ride has already gone beyond the $82,500 raised last year. Exact totals are expected later this week.
With the participation numbers already a record and dollars raised expected to reach close to $90,000, the 6th Annual RMH Ride has to be considered another big success. There was only one incident where a New York Mills rider and his passenger suffered injuries when they were thrown from the bike after hitting the gravel shoulder of the road near Nimrod. Other than the one accident, all the bikers returned from the ride safely.
After the motor-parade rumbled through Mills with bikers continuing on to Wolf Lake, Menahga, Huntersville, Nimrod and Sebeka, hundreds returned to the VFW for a post-ride party. As the bikers rolled in, settled down for the pork meal and a cold one a local couple delivered a special message to the group.
Richard and Karen Muckala of New York Mills thanked everyone involved with the RMH Ride. This year the Muckalas found out first-hand how important the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo is, and just how much this ride touches home.
The Muckalas' daughter, Katy, was born in March -- 3 ½ months early -- and weighed just 1 pound, 6 ounces. She remains in the MeritCare NICU in Fargo. Since Katy was born March 25, Karen and Richard have stayed at one of the two Ronald McDonald Houses in Fargo each weekend -- every Saturday except this one.
"This was the first Saturday being away from Katy," Karen said Tuesday. "It was very hard for me. It was a very hard day but we wanted to be here to thank everyone."
The first night they stayed at the house the Muckalas received a blanket and teddy bear. Suzi Karvonen carried Katy's teddy bear on the ride.
That meant a lot to Karen, who held a sign in the name of Katy thanking the bikers.
"It's so overwhelming to see all those motorcycles going through town," she said. "I cried the whole time. It's overwhelming to see such support in your time of need."
The Muckalas stayed in Mills on Saturday to personally thank the people of the RMH Ride. Being able to stay at the RMH has been a blessing.
"It was stressful," Richard said Saturday. "You didn't know if your baby was going to live or die."
Richard shared the story of how Greg Karvonen talked him into buying a raffle ticket March 24 at the New York Mills Trade Show. That night the Muckalas went to the emergency room, and early the next morning Karen went into labor. Katy weighed less than 1 ½ pounds when she was born March 25. She wasn't due until July 12.
Richard told the group he wrote the name of a social
worker, with information about Ronald McDonald House, on a piece of orange scrap paper. It was the RMH Benefit Ride raffle ticket he just purchased a day earlier. Two nights later he and Karen stayed at the Ronald McDonald House.
Thanks to this event, people at RMH know all about New York Mills.
"When it's a connection to your hometown it's pretty special," Richard said. "You go up there and mention you're from Mills and you get the royal treatment."
Richard thanked the bikers again for all the contributions to make a place like RMH possible.
"When you're all stressed out I can't tell you what a blessing that is to have a place to stay," Richard said. "We can't thank you enough. Keep up the great work!"
With that, the bikers cheered.
Katy is up to 4 pounds, 8 ounces and doing well. Karen said they expect to bring her home around the due date of July 12.