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2,011 miles in 2011: Richville man to ride motorcycle for Dreams for Kids

Sam Benshoof/FOCUS Paul Buendiger of Richville is attempting to ride 2,011 miles in two days to raise money for the Perham Make-a-Wish chapter.

Paul Buendiger can't seem to get enough of riding a motorcycle for a good cause.

Just days after participating in the Ronald McDonald Ride in New York Mills that raised more than $115,000, Buendiger plans to ride 2,011 miles in two days to raise money for Dreams for Kids, the Perham Make a Wish chapter.

Buendiger will leave from Whiskey River Bar and Grill in Perham at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, June 16. He hopes to make it as far as Missoula, Mont., before turning back. If all goes as planned, he expects to return to Perham to the Silver Moon Lounge and Restaurant before Friday night at midnight.

Buendiger said that he built his first motorized vehicle was he was 10 years old, and has been riding ever since.

Bikers, Buendiger said, are a unique group of people that love to give back.

"I think bikers feel that they're a fortunate group," he said. "We have the financial ability to buy a motorcycle, and we see how fortunate we are. When we see how unfortunate are other people are, it brings out the best in us."

Buendiger said that he plans on riding the 2,011 miles by himself.

"I'd rather go alone," he said. "If you're with other vehicles, you have to worry about them too."

Buendiger expects that the ride will be a challenge, especially if he runs into bad weather.

"If I get too tired, or I can't make it, I'll just pull over," he said.

So far, Buendiger estimates that he's raised about $4,600, and expects to be raising more even up through his return to Perham.

"People have been so generous," he said. "Even some people who you wouldn't expect to give much give a lot. It's fantastic."

All money raised will go to help grant a wish for a 9-year-old girl in Pelican Rapids.

Wanda Smith of Dreams for Kids said that Buendiger approached her about a month and a half ago about the idea, and has been working to solicit donations ever since.

"People see that there's an effort there, and that makes a difference," she said. "I'd like to see more of these one-person crusades. They're much more personal."

Buendiger is "gearing up" for the challenge of the ride, but he's also looking forward to it.

"I've always wanted to go on a long ride, but I've never had the incentive," he said. "What better incentive than this, for these kids?"

To donate money, Buendiger can be contacted at 218-849-0529. He'll also be riding in the first annual Ride for Our Veterans on Ssaturday, June 25 during Turtle Fest.