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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Hogs for Hospice enjoys another successful ride

photo submitted

by Sylene Argent

Over the weekend, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and curious patrons descended upon Leamington to check out all the 2019 installment of the annual Hogs for Hospice event had to offer.

  Donny Pacheco, one of the event organizers, said it was an awesome weekend with great weather and high attendance.

  “We had a successful year. It was a great weekend,” he said of the fourth annual event, noting over 400 volunteers pitched-in to help at all the different activities offered. “All the credit goes to the volunteers. It takes a whole community to put this on.”

The event officially kicked-off with the opening of the Hogs for Hospice Headquarters at Seacliff Park. The event offered a vendor alley, food trucks, the Kinsmen Club “Hog Pen” Beer Garden that featured live music, and the OPP Golden Helmets Precision Motorcycle Team. Axe throwing and the Iron by the Beach Custom Motorcycle Show were also enjoyed, in addition to the Pro Rider Freestyle Motocross Shows hosted onsite.

On the Saturday, participants were able to head down early to enjoy the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast before registering for the “Tour the Tip” motorcycle ride.

The “Tour of the Tip” is always kicked off with the pre-ride ceremony, which is hosted to honour veterans and to bless the bikes before they depart. This is a three-hour organized ride that heads to the southern tip of Point Pelee National Park.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the veterans. We honour and thank them and it is a big part of our event,” he said.

Veterans were admitted into the registered ride and the event’s concerts free of charge, thanks to Double Diamond Farms.

On Friday night, a concert featuring Vince Neil and Buckcherry was enjoyed. The music entertainment continued on Saturday evening with a performance from Chris Janson and special guest Eric Ethridge.

Pacheco, said both concerts attracted full crowds.

The genesis of the event stems back to when the Hospice facility in Leamington was being built and funds were needed to run it. Pacheco and Joe Oswald were on the fundraising committee for the local hospital, and realized another event was needed to help raise money for the then future Hospice facility.

“Both of us ride. Joe said he had an idea. We were sitting at Jose’s in Leamington. It was a napkin idea. We wrote down some names of influential people in the community who could help,” Pacheco said.

In addition to the funds the ride has been able to raise to date, Pacheco said it also has a positive economic impact on the community.

It takes a like of time and effort out of the Board Directors to host the event, but as long as there is support and volunteers, it will definitely continue, he said.

Though Pacheco said Hogs for Hospice had another great weekend, what it was able to raise for Leamington’s Hospice facility will not be known for a few weeks as donations are still rolling in.

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