Emotional journey begins

Rob Gibson

UPDATE 12:27 p.m.

The Cops For Kids Ride is the RCMP's signature fundraising event and they took off from the Sandman Hotel just after 9 a.m. Friday morning.

The first leg of the journey took them across the bridge to West Kelowna for a quick stop at Valley First Bank.

Despite cooler temperatures and a little rain, the rider's spirits were upbeat says rider Dirk Finkensiep, "excellent ride so far, it's just the beginning of this and so far we've been lucky it's been nice riding weather."

After a brief pit stop, the riders rallied and headed off on the first serious leg of the journey, destination Penticton, with a lunch stop in Peachland of course.

The riders are a dedicated bunch and aside from what can be grueling conditions, Finkensiep says the biggest challenge is emotional.

"The toughest part I think is the emotional highs and lows it's really an emotional roller coaster. We've all trained for this physically but the tough part is the emotions that come up when we meet the people and families out there that need our help."

The ride will take the cyclists down south, then through the Kootenays and on to Kamloops, before Hitting Vernon and then the final home stretch back to Kelowna on September 23rd.

ORIGINAL 6:50 a.m.

Riders are rallying at the Sandman Hotel in Kelowna this morning as they prepare to depart on the annual Cops for Kids Ride.

34 cyclists and a 6 person support crew from RCMP and supporting enforcement agencies, from across the BC RCMP’s South East District, are preparing to depart this morning.

This is the largest team in Cops for Kids history and they will make their way south along highway 97 for the first of 10 days to raise awareness and funds for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.

“We rely on the generosity of local hotels, restaurants, service clubs and businesses to host the team in each community, so we realize the pressure a large team puts on them. Their support is appreciated more than ever,” commends Ride Captain, retired Staff Sergeant Major Julio Krenz. “To have this much interest from riders wanting to join the team to make a difference in their community speaks to devotion from the RCMP members and the partnering law enforcement agencies in our area so we are thrilled.”

This isn't your typical charity event, each rider must provide their own bike, train on their own time, volunteer at community events, and fundraise a minimum of $2,000 in order to participate. “When I see the devotion that these members make to supporting local kids, it makes me want to help out where I can,” says Kelowna Foundation President Al Hildebrandt. “These riders work overtime shifts keeping our communities safe, have families of their own at home, and they still give another 10 days to this ride, so we are going to do our part too and help raise the funds needed by local families.”

This year's ride will take riders over 1,000km across the southeastern corner of British Columbia over 10 days stopping in 26 communities.

Over the event’s 17 years, they’ve raised over $4.5 million.

To follow the team on their journey or to make a donation please visit the website.


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