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Over 1,000 motorcycles participated in the 8th Annual Ronald McDonald House Ride last year.  This year's ride takes place June 11-12.
Over 1,000 motorcycles participated in the 8th Annual Ronald McDonald House Ride last year. This year's ride takes place June 11-12.

NY Mills gears up for busy weekend June 10-14

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local Perham, 56573

Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

The New York Mills community is preparing for a weekend of huge events beginning June 10.

From misses and motorcycles to thinkers and tourists, the events promise to be exciting while highlighting positive aspects of NY Mills.

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6th Annual Miss New York Mills Pageant

The 6th Annual Miss New York Mills Pageant will be held Thursday, June 11 at the James W. Mann Performing Arts Center.

The pageant begins at 7 p.m. with a silent auction starting at 5:30 p.m. The silent auction is free and open to the public. There are over 200 items to bid on, including bikes, gift certificates, crafts, tanning, meat, quilts and more.

Check out Next Week's Focus for contestants, photos and more information regarding the pageant.

9th Annual Ronald McDonald House Benefit Ride

Fishing boats aren't the only motorized recreational vehicles on the move in the summertime in East Otter Tail County.

Hundreds of motorcycles roll into the area over the course of the summer for organized bike events.

The granddaddy of these charitable runs is the New York Mills-based Ronald McDonald House Benefit Ride. This 100-plus mile event attracts more than 1,000 bikers. The event is June 12 this year, but the fun starts Friday night, June 11, with festivities and music at the New York Mills VFW Club-right on Highway 10.

The VFW serves as headquarters for the event-which caps off with food, dance and concert Saturday night after the ride.

The thundering parade of bikes rumbles through downtown NY Mills Saturday and people line the streets to take a look at all the motor metal muscle.

Event organizers estimated the total bikes involved in the event, including those on the ride and those that joined along the route, as well as some that stayed behind at the V.F.W., at about 1,250. Last year's ride drew a little over 1,000 bikes.

Last year, ride organizers topped the $100,000 mark, with all proceeds going to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo.

"Every year the people who attend the ride amaze us by their turnout, their support, and their donations," said committee member Greg Karvonen after the 2009 run. "They come out of the woodwork year after year. After eight years, it's still growing."

"The Ronald McDonald run is just a fantastic run. There are so many bikers showing up here... I've seen it grow the last eight years," said Howie Ogaard, a participant in the 2009 event. "This is so well organized and well run. I just enjoy coming up here."

The ride started in 2002 when a group of local motorcycle enthusiasts wanted to get together and do some good for people. They drew 150 bikes that year. Eight years later, the RMH Ride committee is looking to re-establish the event as the world's largest motorcycle ride for Ronald McDonald House and the number one contributor to the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo.

The ride has drawn over 1,000 motorcycles the last three years and raises $100,000 annually.

The total ride is approximately 86 miles and event organizers stress safety and fun as the top priorities.

The campground for the event opens Thursday, June 10 at 9 a.m.

Friday, June 11 kicks off with a live outdoor concert at the Charles D. Center V.F.W. featuring Arch Allies, a tribute band to Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon.

A pancake Breakfast will be served at the NY Mills School from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 12. At 9 a.m. the bike rodeo for kids will take place in the school parking lot. Kids get to meet Ronald McDonald, Hamburgler, Grimace and are eligible to win 1 of 20 bikes.

Registration for the ride itself takes place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the V.F.W. rain or shine; the ride leaves the V.F.W. at noon.

The ride will stop in Henning for a "hot dog challenge." 1,200 hotdogs will be eaten at this free will event and the proceeds will go to the RMH. The ride will proceed to Dent.

At approximately 4:30 p.m., the ride returns to the NY Mills V.F.W. for a hog roast, door prizes, live and silent auctions, burnout contest and participants can register to win a 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic and $2,000 worth of cash prizes. The drawing for the bike will be at 8 p.m.

After the drawing, an outdoor concert featuring opening band, Cut Loose, and feature band, Aultimate Ozzy an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band will take place.

Events will conclude Sunday, June 13 at 7 a.m. with breakfast at the NY Mills V.F.W. with a free will offering.

For more information, visit www.rmhride.com.

17th Annual Great American Think-Off

The New York Mills Community and Regional Cultural Center are hosting another of its annual and premier, amateur philosophy contests, The 2010 Great American Think-Off. The June 11-12 festivities mark the 17th year for the event.

The Great American Think-Off is a national philosophy competition providing an opportunity for ordinary people to voice their opinions on some of life's more perplexing questions.

Finalists debate answers to this year's question, each of who submitted essays of up to 750 words earlier this spring, in front of a live audience.

Contestants ground their arguments in personal experience that address the central problem of moral philosophy by speaking about personal experience rather than abstract philosophical reasoning. Judges expect them to tell a good story that shows a firm standing on one side or the other of the philosophical divide.

"There are many things we might criticize about contemporary America, but the Think-Off is a cause for wonder, one of the things America, and Minnesota, has gotten right," said Jamie Robertson, Executive Director New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

The festivities will kick off Friday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. at the New York Mills Community and Regional Cultural Center with a concert by Dave Mehling and the Fontanelles.

This year's question, "Do the wealthy have an obligation to help the poor?" will debated at the NY Mills School on Saturday, June 12th at 7 p.m. Admission to the debate is $12 for adults, $5 for students in advance (call 218-385-3339) or $15 the evening of the debate.

The audience chooses the winner of the debate and festivities conclude with a reception after the contest. Arguing that the wealthy do not have an obligation to help the poor are David Eckel of Clayton, N.C. and Barbara Betcher of Red Wing, Minn. Arguing in favor are Rayelle Hite of Battle Lake, Minn. and Leif Wallin of Minneapolis.

Finalists receive $500 plus travel, food and lodging expenses. The winner is decided by the audience attending the debate and named "America's Greatest Thinker for 2010". Gold, silver and bronze medals are also awarded.

Last year's question, "Is It Ever Wrong to do the Right Thing?" was debated successfully by gold medalist John Pollock, a civil rights attorney from Montgomery, Ala.

Other questions debated in past years have included "Which Should You Trust More, Your Head or Your Heart?" (2007), "Which is More Valuable to Society: Safety or Freedom?" (2005), "Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?" (2002), "Is Democracy Fair?" (2000), "Is the Death Penalty Ethical in a Civilized Society?" (1997), and "Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?" (1998).

2010 Think-Off finalists

David Eckel is a writer and philosopher moonlighting as a computer and small business management consultant. He holds a degree in Management Science from MIT and upon graduation launched an optical arts company. Dave subsequently worked in the plastics and telecommunications fields before founding Telephony Software Associates in 1991. A resident of Clayton, N.C., he maintains many of the PCs in his neighborhood and teaches junior golf. Dave currently assists an oil field services company and an antiques center both located in Houston. This diverse background emerged from, and in turn strengthened, a core conviction that helping others holds life's greatest rewards.

Barbara Betcher

was born and raised in New Britain, Conn., Barbara came to Minnesota to teach at Immanuel Lutheran School in Hay Creek Township. She married a farmer, but has been a widow for 15 years. Her two sons are attorneys in Red Wing. Her daughter teaches at Iowa State University. Barbara has a Master's Degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. For 27 years, she taught in the Title I program in the Goodhue Public Schools.

Over the years, Barbara has been a 4-H leader, chair of the Goodhue County Jail Study Commission, a member of the Red Wing Library Board, and a three-term member of the Red Wing School Board. For fun, she reads, plays Bridge and Texas Hold'em, solves the New York Times Crossword Puzzles, and writes whimsical verse. Barbara was the 1997 Minnesota State Senior Spelling Bee Champion.

Rayelle Hite was born in Portsmouth, Va., Oct. 3, 1979. She arrived in the state of Minnesota at the age of four and has called it her home to date. She graduated high school in 1998 in Wadena Deer Creek. She spent a short time in the Army National Guard and in 2002 became a mother and homemaker. She currently lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Rayelle works as a paraprofessional for a local school district. She enjoys gardening, kayaking and spending time with her family.

Leif Wallin

graduated from Concordia College with degrees in economics and French. He earns his paycheck as a contracts negotiator. As his long time hobbies of handball and biking started to take a toll on his body, he realized he needed to find less physically demanding activities. He took up the piano and writing, both of which fueled his artistic side. Now Leif takes pleasure in selecting adjectives and creating metaphors that paint the perfect picture. Leif has great support (and good source material) from his wonderful wife Karen and their children, Erin and Cole.

Finalists receive $500 plus travel, food and lodging expenses. The winner is decided by the audience attending the debate and named "America's Greatest Thinker for 2010". Gold, silver and bronze medals are also awarded.

Last year's question, "Is It Ever Wrong to do the Right Thing?" was debated successfully by gold medalist John Pollock, a civil rights attorney from Montgomery, AL.

Other questions debated in past years have included "Which Should You Trust More, Your Head or Your Heart?" (2007), "Which is More Valuable to Society: Safety or Freedom?" (2005), "Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?" (2002), "Is Democracy Fair?" (2000), "Is the Death Penalty Ethical in a Civilized Society?" (1997), and "Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?" (1998).

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