Riding into its 25th anniversary, this year’s Tour de Cariboo road-ride fundraiser will be the last one for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Williams Lake.
Melissa Newberry, executive director for BBBSWL, said the swan song, 76-kilometre ride held annually from Williams Lake to Gavin Lake was supposed to be held last year, however, the wildfires that errupted throughout the region forced its cancellation.
Now, she’s inviting anyone interested to come enjoy the day featuring spectacular scenery, varied terrain and lots of fun to help celebrate 25 years of memories this Sept. 8 when the ride takes place.
“We are hoping people who’ve had it on their bucket list will participate,” Newberry said. “This year we’re producing some very special anniversary T-shirts you can order online when you register, and we’re also giving Tour de Cariboo socks instead of T-shirts as something different.”
While this year’s event will be the last, Newberry said it’s bitter sweet for the organization, who also holds an annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser to help fund its local programming in the community.
“We’ve been doing the Bowl for Kids Sake for years and years and I think it’s an easy commitment for people and it just runs like clockwork each year,” she said. “I think with the tour, it’s a lot of work and it’s one person who does it.”
Over the years, she said Tour de Cariboo participation has been declining, which is also part of the reason for the event’s cancellation.
“Maybe people want something new?” she said. “I think it’s exciting, so we’re coming up with some new ideas for a new fundraiser.
“We’re thinking about an obstacle-course-type event. But of course we want to continue to support Gavin Lake because they’ve been so great to us and just get families involved, individuals, something like that, and spend a whole weekend.”
Once riders reach Gavin Lake for the Tour de Cariboo they’re in for an afternoon of rest and relaxation.
“We’ll try to do a really great meal and recognize some of the riders from the past, look at riders who’ve done it many, may times,” she said.
“We’re excited that it’s an anniversary event, so we might dig up some old pictures and do a little slideshow – something to that effect.”
Newberry said if anyone is concerned about the ongoing highway construction south of Williams Lake, they’ve consulted with the construction company and they have been assured one side of the road will be all clear for riding. There will also be a police escort guiding riders to the turnoff toward Gavin Lake off Highway 97.
“We’ll have music, we’ll have a meal, and our awards, plus raffle tickets where people can win WestJet tickets to anywhere in the world.”
She said over the event’s 25 years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised locally to help BBBSWL programming.
To register for this year’s Tour de Cariboo visit https://williamslake.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/event.
Pledge forms are also available online, or at the BBBSWL office located at #200 369 Oliver Street.
Or, for more information, call BBBSWL at 250-398-8391.