Old Dog Run to wind up after 12 years of fundraising

After raising more than $120,000 for a variety of Kamsack charitable initiatives, the Old Dog Run has run its course.

Each year for the past 12 years, a group of cyclists, after having obtained pledges, would meet in Kamsack early in a morning at the beginning of August to peddle the 168 kilometres from Kamsack to Yorkton and back. The groups varied in size, from just the two originators, Joe Kozakewich and Tom Campbell the first two years, to a high of 20 cyclists at the fifth annual Run in 2011.

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This year Campbell and Kozakewich decided to wind up the run as it has been known.

“Mixed emotions about winding the ride up just don’t come close to what we’re feeling,” Kozakewich said.

The ride originated in 2007 after Dereck Wolkowski of Kamsack made a bet. He had said that Kozakewich and Campbell were “old dogs,” much too old to be able to cycle to Yorkton and back in one day, which had been something the two had been musing about for some time.

“We won that bet and the Old Dog Run was born,” Kozakewich said. “The ride has been the ultimate challenge for me personally. Some years I was the stronger one, other years Tom taught me a few lessons about endurance.”

“The real issue about winding the ride up came down to a number of factors,” Campbell said. “We haven’t been able to attract as many riders as in the past. There has also been a general feeling that perhaps the ride has run its course.

“We will ride this year,” Kozakewich said, adding that instead of the Yorkton run, a “fun ride” to Madge Lake and back will take place on August 10.

The starting and ending locations will be announced well before then, he said. Those who participated in the ride in the past plus any new riders who are at least 50 years of age will be invited to join. A reception in some form will be planned although perhaps on a smaller scale. Any decisions about any future rides will be made at a later date.

Eaglestone Lodge in Kamsack was the recipient of the funds for the third Run in 2010 when a little over $2,000 was raised and it was the recipient of the fifth Run in 2011 when $17,000 was raised.

The committee that was raising money for a grand piano in 2010 received $2,400; the medical clinic received $13,000 in 2012 and another $20,000 in 2014; the Kamsack Playhouse obtained $14,000 in 2013; the Victoria School playground committee received $14,000 in 2015; the Kamsack and District Nursing Home outdoor patio project received $13,000 in 2015; the Kamsack fire department which was raising money for new Jaws of Life vehicular extraction equipment obtained $10,780 in 2017, and last year the Kamsack air cadet squadron received $16,860.

The total funds raised over the 12 years is $123,178.

Of the riders only Kozakewich rode every year, while Campbell missed only one ride. The next most-frequent riders joined the group five times. The five-time riders were: Brenda and Warren Andrews, Jim Nahnybida and Bailee Shewkenek, while the rest rode from one to four years.

“We have so many people to thank who have helped us along the way,” Kozakewich said. “Our corporate sponsors over the past 12 years, namely Affinity Credit Union and Kamsack Petro Canada, have been wonderful.”

Lorna Campbell initially hosted a luncheon for the riders at the halfway point in Yorkton, he said. Quality Tire of Yorkton took over the luncheon a few years later and continued to feed the riders plus the company provided a vehicle driven by Stephen Kozakewich to escort the group on the highway and provided roadside assistance whenever necessary.

The Kamsack Branch of Legacy Co-op supplied the Gator Aid, he said. Wayne and Morgan Sas of Sas-Kam Sportsman of Kamsack donated souvenir T-shirts for the riders. Carol Belley provided the banner and signage.

“We also owe a big thank you to James Pollock of Kamsack who had provided an EMT vehicle and driver to escort the riders and provide assistance when needed,” he said. “Debbie Kozakewich donated and prepared the nourishment the riders required to complete the distance and the Kamsack Times continued to provide extensive media coverage year after year.

“We also thank all those involved in setting up the receptions held over the years and all the other donors and volunteers. They all helped make the annual Old Dog Run the success it has been.

“Finally, of course, we must all acknowledge and thank all those cyclists who rode the 168 kilometres from Kamsack to Yorkton and back.”

“We all had a dog-gone good time,” Campbell said.