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Ronald McDonald Ride kicks off with benefit event in NY Mills

On Saturday, Jan. 15, the volunteers for the Ronald McDonald Ride gathered at the VFW in New York Mills to kick off their benefit event.

The Ronald McDonald Ride is 10 years strong this year, earning the title of World's Largest Benefit Motorcycle Ride, according to longtime committee member Greg Karvonen.

Last year, more than 1,000 bikes participated, earning more than $100,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo. The ride would not be possible without all the volunteers who help out, Karvonen said.

"We rely on the 32 members as a team to do all the behind the scenes stuff, and then over a hundred volunteers join us on the day of the ride," Karvonen said. "Over the past 10 years, our volunteers have become well seasoned and efficient."

The community comes together to prepare the weekend event, Karvonen said. There are volunteers that sell raffle tickets, sit in trade shows, collect pop tabs, and inform others about the benefit. Still others take care of the hundreds of fine details: Food, beverages, entertainment, parking, camping, and security.

According to Karvonen, the Ronald McDonald Ride's website,, has more than 12,000 hits a year, which helps put NY Mills on the map.

"A crew comes from Illinois every year, some come from Montana, and some as far away as Florida," he said.

Raffle tickets are now available for the $20,000 Harley, two $500 prizes, and 10 $100 prizes. There are 2,500 tickets available costing $20 a piece. As of Saturday, 660 tickets had been sold.

Tickets are available from any committee member, at the VFW, at the Perham and NY Mills tradeshow or through e-mail on the website. In the past, all tickets have been sold before the ride.