There was no doubt that the first Gran Fondo held in Saugeen Shores was a success beyond what most thought could be accomplished. Although a final total is not yet in, the initial count places the amount raised at $125,000.
Some 700 cyclists came from far and wide to participate in the fundraising event for the local Saugeen Memorial Hospital and Regional Owen Sound hospital equipment needs.
“I want to welcome everyone here today,” said Mayor-elect, Luke Charbonneau. “We all know how important it is to have a hospital in a community and to have local health care.
By being here and participating in this fantastic event, you are making a difference and I hope that you come back to what we think is the greatest community in Ontario.”
Riding in four different distance categories, 30km, 70km, 110km and 160km, the riders were able to choose one that fit their riding level of ability and endurance.
While the hospitals were the major winners, there were also major prizes handed out at the end of the day for those who raised the most money in pledges and through two draws.
In first place as an individual was Brian Longmire of 98 The Beach radio who raised $2,636 and, for his efforts, won a new BBQ from Martin’s Home Hardware of Southampton.
Second place was Mike Johnston ($1,700) who won a ladies’ bike and 34d was Scott Good ($1,620) who won a watch.
First place in the team category went to Peggy’s Plover Pedal Pushers. The team of 27 members rode in memory of Peggy Wong and raised an incredible $12,525.
‘Sport Tour de Friends’ team raised $8,480 and came in second.
There were also major prizes that were won through draws. The first draw was for a new bike from Martin’s cycle shop that was won by Darryl Specter.
The Grand Prize was an Air Canada flight to anywhere in North America, including Hawaii and the Caribbean. Phillip Ten Kortenaar was a double winner as he also won 3rd place for Team fundraising and then had his name drawn as winner of the Grand Prize.
It was acknowledged that without the more than 200 volunteers, the event would not have happened. “The volunteers and supporters along the routes kept everything going and encouraged the riders,” said Sally Kidson, Executive Director of the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF).