The largest team in Cops For Kids’ southern Interior cycling tour history hits the road this morning (Friday).
A total of 34 cyclists and a six-person support crew from RCMP and supporting enforcement agencies, from across the BC RCMP’s South East District, leave from Kelowna on the annual Cops for Kids Ride presented by the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation.
The crew will make their way south along Highway 97 for the first of 10 days to raise awareness and essential funds for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment staff member Denise McMahon, a veteran of the tour, is riding again.
Interest for the 2018 Ride started pouring in the day after their return last year.
Ultimately the charitable foundation had to make the difficult decision to place a cap on the number of spots available on this year’s team.
“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,” said 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.”
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,” said 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.”
The 2018 Ride will take the team over 1,000 kilometres across the southeastern corner of British Columbia over 10 days, stopping in 26 communities where they’ll be welcomed by local supporters, dignitaries, media and the Little Ambassadors that they pedal for each day.
Over the event’s 17 years, they’ve raised more than $4.5 million through their signature event. With requests from families on the rise, they’re working even harder to support the local children who need it most. Funds from the event support requests for medical equipment, transportation to Children’s Hospital’s, specialized therapies, as well as learning & mobility aids.
Daily updates will appear on the team blog during the ride. To follow the team along their journey or to make a donation please visit the website at www.copsforkids.org or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.