by Monica Treidlinger
Three weeks ago, a community came together to help a worthwhile cause, and I would like to sincerely thank them for their generous support. The Eastern Ontario Horses of Course Club, made up of about 37 riders and drivers, hosted the 2019 Limerick Forest Poker Ride on September 22 in support of House of Lazarus and their work with local food banks.
It was our Vice-President, Ann Hedberg’s idea. Could we pull this off in only 3 months? We had no idea of the magnitude of work to be done, so we blindly said “yes” and went along for the ride.
We needed prizes for winning poker hands and we needed donations to defray costs. We needed volunteers to take on a number of tasks, including setting up a website, tracking registration of riders, order T-shirts, baking desserts, making chili, serving food, manning check points on the trails, selling tickets, helping park trailers, and all the other details to make sure the event ran smoothly. Just days before the event, there were trails to be cleared of low-hanging branches and fallen trees. And then, to make sure everyone knew the route, trail markers were hung just prior to the ride and then taken down right after the last rider went through.
On the day of the ride, these dedicated people arrived early to set up the tables, make the coffee, and get the BBQ started. It was hours and hours of work and these special people came through. A warm and heart-felt thank you goes out to all the volunteers.
We also had help from the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville who manage Limerick Forest. Their staff ensured that the parking lot was clear of debris so that trailers could park safely and the trails were clear of fallen trees to be safe for riders.
Members of the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicles (OFATV) and the Johnstown ATV Club helped us immensely on this event. They cooked smoked hams and hamburgers for the hungry crowd, sold poker hands and calculated the winning hands, and manned check points.
The event was a success. An impressive 77 registered riders showed up with their trucks and trailers to bring horses of all shapes, sizes and breeds to ride the trails. Many of them brought non-perishable food items. In total, we raised $4,000 in cash and received six bins of donated food items weighing in at 155.3 kg. for House of Lazarus for distribution to a group of local area food banks.
The generous support of sponsors, who donated cash, prizes and food, made this event possible. Thank you to the following people and businesses: Heather Swan of Liberty Shots, Picken Quarter Horses, Elite Three Hemp Products, 416 Mini Storage, Canadian Tire (Kemptville), Rideau St. Lawrence Veterinary Services, Shoeless Joe’s Sports Bar, Kemptville Canine Centre, Kemptville Physiotherapy, Bytown Animal Chiropractic, TSC (Kemptville), J. T. Auto Parts, Elegant Equine, Kate’s Kreations, Steve Morris, Love Your Pet, Apple Saddlery, Greenhawk, Mrs. McGarrigles, B&H Grocers, Costco (Strandherd), Felt Friends, Ontario Equestrian, Impact Signs, Bryan Valeriani, Bank of Nova Scotia, Tim Horton’s, Kim Koenger, Carmen McLean, and Dr. Rami Yassine.
Here’s hoping we can do it again next year.