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Dreams for Kids prizes boost student's college fund

For a petite 19-year-old, the big, beautiful Harley Davidson she had just won was a daunting piece of machinery.

"I'm too young to have a motorcycle...I have the whole rest of my life to buy a motorcycle," said Tiffany Van Watermulen, who was thrilled that the Dreams for Kids/Make-A-Wish Foundation drew her ticket--even though she isn't planning to keep the machines. She was the winner of not only the grand prize Harley, but also the Yamaha Grizzly four-wheeler.

With Van Watermulen at 110 pounds, the combined weight of the bike and four-wheeler is about a dozen times her weight.

The Perham Alternative Learning Center graduate is getting ready for college or trade school, planning to enter a field in graphic arts. So, Van Watermulen sold the Grizzly to help with school expenses. She is in the process of selling the Harley, with its 105th Anniversary custom paint and trim. There were only 2,000 of the commemorative bikes made, and the one given away in the Perham-based Dreams for Kids raffle was number 1,342 off the manufacturing line. The bike retails between $15,000 and $18,000.

Even though she isn't keeping the units, Tiffany was a winner--and she and hundreds of other ticket-buyers helped five area kids win--through Make-A-Wish Foundation wishes.

The raffle, which is the cornerstone of the annual Dreams for Kids raffle and bike run, raised $33,000, said Wanda Smith, one of the founders of the local fundraiser.

This is enough money to grant five wishes to children who are facing handicaps, disabilities and potentially fatal medical conditions, said Smith. The Make-A-Wish Foundation wishes are a minimum of $6,000. A common trip for youngsters is to Disneyland or Disneyworld.

This year, the Dreams for Kids tried a different strategy--by selling tickets on the Harley and the Grizzly four-wheeler. The winner takes both, and this year, it was Tiffany Van Watermulen.

The local Dreams for Kids group stipulates that the Make-A-Wish Foundation grant wishes within a 75-mile radius.

The third annual Dreams for Kids weekend included a dance Friday night, a motorcycle run Saturday, and dinner and a dance Saturday night--all headquartered at Playtime.