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Fairy godmothers - in leather

Connie Vandermay/FOCUS Paul Buendiger will soon take off on a 4,000-mile motorcycle ride to raise money for Dreams for Kids. He will also partake in the Seventh Annual Dreams for Kids ride on Saturday, July 28, along with many other local bikers.

Bikers in the Perham area will soon partake in two dramatically different rides with one shared purpose - raising funds to grant the wishes of seriously ill children in the area.

The first is a solo rider attempting to go 4,000 miles in five days. After that rider's return, a couple hundred other area bikers will join in the cause, taking part in the 7th Annual Dreams for Kids Ride, covering a 130-mile loop around Perham.

Paul Buendiger, in his second annual solo cross-country ride, hopes to raise more for Dreams for Kids then he did last year, an impressive $7,445. To help meet his goal, Buendiger is looking for sponsors to pledge funds for every mile he travels.

Buendiger said in an interview last week that he is feeling a little apprehensive as the ride gets closer, because a lot can happen on longer rides. This is a long ride, he said, but he feels like the cause is a good one.

Dreams for Kids is a chapter of the Make A Wish foundation, focusing on fulfilling the dreams of local children. Kids who benefit from Dreams for Kids have major illnesses, although they are not necessarily terminal.

An average wish costs $5,000. The Dreams for Kids group out of the Perham area has supported 20 wishes over the course of six years.

Funds raised this year will grant the wishes of two boys chosen by the Make A Wish foundation: an 8-year-old from Frazee named Wylie and 14-year-old Luke from Lake Park. Both boys want to go on an Alaskan Cruise. A third child is already lined up, if by chance the group raises enough money to provide another wish.

Buendiger leaves on his solo ride on Saturday, July 21 at midnight. He hopes to drive through the night and all the next day, in an attempt to cover 1,000-1,200 miles before resting. Getting a good chunk of miles behind him on the first day will make the rest of the trip a little bit easier, he said.

He calls his trip "Mex I Can." He will go from Perham, up to Canada, down to Mexico and back in five days. Throughout his journey, Beundiger will be reporting to Lakes Radio 99.5 FM on his whereabouts so supporters can keep up on his travels.

Anyone wanting to support "Mex I Can" may mail checks payable to Dreams for Kids to Paul Buendiger, 35240 Alice Dr., Richville, Minn., 56576. All donations are tax deductible.

The public is invited to join Buendiger at the Otter Supper Club for a bite to eat on his return on Wednesday, July 25.

Three days after that, on Saturday, July 28, Buendiger and many others will participate in the Seventh Annual Dreams for Kids Ride.

Riders will leave at noon from Pioneer Village, loop around the lakes country for 130 miles, stopping at the Pelican Supper Club, Underwood American Legion, and Nick's Bar and Grill in Ottertail, ending back at Pioneer Village.

Pioneer Village will host breakfast, dinner, evening entertainment and camping. Camping begins on Friday night, with a meet and greet potluck, and a disk jockey providing music. The bands Electric Feel and Slamabama will perform on Saturday evening.

Raffle tickets are being sold for a 2011 Kowasaki Vulcan 900 and various other prizes. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Perham Chamber of Commerce, BP, Main Street Express, Dan's Shoe Shop, Landmark Liquor and Little Bear Towing. Prizes will be drawn by Luke and Wylie starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The ride is Dreams for Kids' main fundraiser of the year. All proceeds benefit the Make A Wish foundation.