The 12th annual Old Dog Run is now a memory for the riders, but it was a fundraiser which will create lasting memories for a group of Kamsack air cadets who will benefit from the money raised.
A total of $8,431 was raised by participants in the Run who had collected pledges to raise money to donate to the Kamsack air cadets who will travel to Normandy, France next year. They will be taking part in an educational tour which will have them stand on the beach where the battle known as D-Day was fought 75 years earlier.
In a surprise twist, at the end of the ride the group of cyclists, and those in attendance at the sportsground, were notified that an anonymous donor family was going to match the pledges, dollar for dollar, bringing the total amount raised to $16,862.
“A few tears were shed over that announcement,” said Joe Kozakewich, a rider and founding member of the Run. “Our sincerest thank you.”
On August 11 six riders accompanied by support vehicles left Kamsack from their meeting place at the caboose located on Nykolaishen Drive and headed to Yorkton via Canora at 6:30 a.m., in spite of the forecast of soaring temperatures in the 30s Celsius.
“We initially had eight confirmed riders, but two were unable to participate, so we had six,” said Kozakewich.. “Besides myself and Jim Nahnybida of Kamsack, there were Warren and Brenda Andrews of Cote Siding and Warren Poppick and Tom Campbell both of Yorkton.
“The heat was a bit of a concern, but we were fortunate to have our support people accompany us on the ride.”
An EMT vehicle from Duck Mountain Ambulance, driven by Mike Den Hoed accompanied by his wife Tracey, escorted the cyclists in case of a medical emergency. A Quality Tire vehicle out of Yorkton, driven by Stephen Kozakewich, was part of the escort team, and a vehicle driven by Deb Kozakewich accompanied by Vi Gardner was on hand to provide nourishment and hydration for the riders.
“We reached Yorkton right at noon and were fed a lunch of perogies and sausages generously provided by Quality Tire. Our lunch stop was brief, and after less than an hour we were back on the highway to Canora. We were unable to go through Wroxton this year because of highway construction.
“Traffic was polite and friendly, waving and honking support, and even generous in one instance when a person in a vehicle wished us luck and donated $20 to the ride. Nice gestures like that make the ride worthwhile.
“We faced a headwind from Canora to Yorkton, and it changed direction in the afternoon so we were facing wind on the way back, adding extra stress to the cyclists. It was a hot day and we had to make frequent stops on the way back to Kamsack to lessen the impact of the heat, which resulted in reaching town 45 minutes late.
“I’d like to say thanks to the Kamsack air cadets, Karen Tourangeau (cadet CO) and the civilian committee for their efforts and contributions to the ride and for doing a great job of staging the reception, including music supplied by The Polka Pals, and thanks to those who were on hand to greet us at the sportsgrounds.”
Kozakewich acknowledged Kamsack Petro-Canada which is the run’s corporate sponsor, and also supplied ice and water; Karen Bodnaryk who donated water; Jim Pollock and Duck Mountain Ambulance Care which provided an ambulance to accompany the cyclists; Wayne Sas at Sas-Kam Sportsman who donated the T-shirts; RX Drugs for donating snacks for the ride; Yorkton Co-op Association, Kamsack branch for donating Gator Aid, and all of the donors who contributed to this year’s Old Dog Run.
“There were no problems on the road and everyone who started the Run made it back to Kamsack. The group was excited to complete the trip to be able to contribute funds to the air cadet cause,” Kozakewich said.
“As in past years, everyone had a ‘Dog-gone good time’ on the ride,” said Tom Campbell with a grin.