Two of those amenities are Geleta Park and the Ag Society fair grounds, the home of the Run to the Hills Memorial Rally.
Campers started showing up 6 days early for the rally as they wanted to stake their claim to the campsite they wanted, nestled in among the trees! When I arrived on Thursday night before the rally, I was amazed to see over 100 people already there, all anticipating the fun and memories they would be making.
Friday was brutal, high winds and rain, but true to form the die hards just kept rolling in and over 200 people bellied up to the table for an incredible pig roast. Porky’s BBQ from Ashmont Alberta cooked those pigs to absolute perfection!
There was an unusual scavenger hunt that took place as well and those who took part had to do some crazy things like kissing Bob Ross’s arse! It was all a part of the stag and stag-ette for a couple who had met at the rally the year before.
Laughter and smiles filled the arena.
After the Show ‘n’ Shine, Pastor Wes took the pulpit and said a prayer over the riders and their machines that were going to be participating in the poker run. He also delivered the roll call of 17 names of riders who had fallen in the last year be it to motorcycle crashes or medical issues. Out of those 17 names, 4 of them were friends of mine.
The poker run takes people throughout the county of Two Hills and the small businesses that support the poker run were appreciative of the 75 or so riders who participated.
When everyone returned to the grounds, the bike rodeo started and the fun began in earnest with riders and their passengers showing off their skills in competitions like the slow race, the keg push, honey I’m home, the pantyhose race and the burn out pit. The stands were filled with spectators and the howls of laughter and cheers of support were loud and raucous.
|Casey Werney and Laurie Ellison|
The maid of honour, Josee Milroy had cooked up a fabulous turkey dinner that cost $10 a plate with the proceeds being donated to the memorial.
I had only raised just shy of $1,200 because of having to lie down. When I woke up to a quiet campground around 1 in the morning, I grabbed the bag of cash and beetled down to the arena with a pounding headache. The band on stage when I got there was that Wayne Allchin band, sadly I missed the Tom Hammered band.
It will be filmed for airing on YouTube so that people will be able to see that the hair really did go!
Sunday was a day of mixed emotions. Unlike previous years where people packed up and were gone from the campsite by 10 am, this year many campers stayed until well into the afternoon, no one wanted to have to say goodbye.
I stayed on in Two Hills as Bob and I had meeting with Community Futures and a few other stakeholders in the region that also want to do what they can to see the memorial become a reality. You see the first 5 years of the rally, Bob lost money; money he had to put in from his own pocket to ensure all of the bills got paid. It took 4 years to negotiate the lease for the Wayside Park on the edge of town. It’s been a long road.
In the last two years, new roofs were put on the outhouses and the old cook shack that is being converted into a chapel and the buildings have gotten a coat of paint.
Bob has amassed a ton of sidewalk paving bricks, the concrete culvert that will serve as the base of the monument, the arch for the gate and a number of other items that will be used like folding chairs and tables, but there is a ton of work to do to the grounds.
Bob wants the landscaping done, flowers and trees planted, a deck on the chapel where people will be able to host BBQ’s and meals to support memorial services and then of course there is all of the brickwork for walk ways and the paving of the driveway to be done.
The last big ticket item is the metal sculpture for the top of the monument that needs to be done and the bronze plaque to commemorate the park.
Did you realize that he has NO help to do the cleaning and putting away of equipment? Neither did I, so I am glad I was able to stay and help him over two days to get everything whipped back into shape.
It’s well run with events taking place on a reasonably tight schedule that ensures no one is bored!
It’s a true riders event, one that is pure in its intent and purpose: To see riders have a place of reflection!
The Run to the Hills Memorial Rally is a MUST attend event that gives back to the riding community, a community that is too often wrapped up in helping everyone else but themselves.
Plans are already well underway for the 9th Annual event and it is my hopes that the numbers swell to 800 or a thousand so that the memorial can become a reality and the riding community can celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost.
Belt Drive Betty
Editor and Rider