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File photo of 2011 RMH Ride

New York Mills gears up for the nation's biggest RMH Ride

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The 11th annual Ronald McDonald House Ride is right around the corner, and New York Mills will soon play host to more than a thousand motorcyclists riding for a cause.

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The NY Mills ride is the largest of its kind in the nation. Since first 'hitting the street' just over a decade ago, the event has grown tremendously - raising more than $100,000 every year for the last three years, as well as collecting millions of pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House Pop Tab program.

All proceeds raised through the ride benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo, N.D.; the pop tabs also benefit local schools, which collect the tabs all year long.

"It's an amazing place," said Greg Karvonen, a leading organizer of the ride, of the Ronald McDonald House. "It helps so many families."

The Ronald McDonald House provides a safe 'home away from home' for families with children receiving long-term medical care. Without it, many families would not be able to afford to stay with their children through the care process, which is usually a difficult and scary time for them.

Karvonen said riders come to NY Mills from all over the region, and as far away as Louisiana, Florida, Montana and other states. A local planning committee spends 10 months out of the year preparing for the event, and more than 100 volunteers help make the weekend of the ride a success.

This year's ride will start at noon sharp, rain or shine, on Saturday, June 9, at the NY Mills VFW. Registration will start at 9 a.m.

After a day on the road, riders will return to the VFW to be treated to a hog roast with door prizes and live and silent auctions, live bands and a burnout contest. One lucky participant will win a 2012 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic. Local rock/classic rock bands Cut Loose and 24Seven will perform.

To 'fuel' the riders up on Saturday morning, a pancake breakfast will be served at the NY Mills School from 8-11 a.m.

A bike rodeo for the kids - featuring special appearances by Ronald McDonald, Grimmace and the Hamburglar - will start at 9 a.m. This popular family-friendly event attracts upwards of 200 kids every year, said Karvonen. Nearly 30 bikes will be given away.

While Saturday is the 'big day,' festivities will begin on Thursday and go through Sunday. Riders planning to camp out for the weekend will start arriving Thursday morning. The early birds will get the worm, so to speak, with a special Thursday night performance by Jeremiah James Korfe, the lead singer of "From Joyce."

A farmer from Clarissa, Minn., Korfe is nationally known for winning the heart of Paige Duke on County Music Television's reality series, "Sweet Home Alabama." The final episode aired in March, and the pair are reportedly still together and very much in love.

On Friday at 8 p.m., two Fargo bands will entertain audiences in a live outdoor concert at the VFW - powerhouse performers Carmen the Cactus and Tripwire won't disappoint rock fans.

A 7 a.m. breakfast at the VFW on Sunday will end this year's activities, ensuring riders won't go home hungry.

For more information about the ride, visit www.rmhride.com.

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