Rumsey Ride for STARS celebrates 30th anniversary

STARS Founder 2019

The Rumsey Agricultural Society’s 30th annual Ride for STARS this past Sunday, August 11, 2019 has earned them the distinction of being the longest running charity event for STARS and this annual ride is so very close to reaching the million dollar amount. In the past 29 years this event has raised $830,539 and with Sunday’s ride, the amount is expected to hit close to or over the $900,000 mark. There were 111 riders whose pledges alone totalled roughly $37,765. Adding to this total however, will be amounts raised from the Fire Department breakfast ($400), lunch, beef supper, poker tournament ($500), raffles, and silent auction (minimum of at least $2000).

STARS founder, Dr. Greg Powell (pictured above), along with his wife Linda attended the Rumsey event exclaiming how thrilled they were with the success of the Ride each year. “We’ve been flying since 1985 with 42,000 missions and 400 of those missions (in the past nine years) has been to this area. I remember back to those early days when I would have to check if we had enough money for the next mission and having those thoughts, that we just can’t do this anymore. It was you. It was Rumsey that kept me hanging in there. You would be doing another Ride for us and my thoughts were such that I couldn’t disappoint you, I couldn’t call it quits while you were organizing another ride. You gave me that enthusiasm. Thank you. The spirit you bring to our organization means everything. We hope to see you next year.”

Blaire Anderson, a former VIP (Very Important Patient) spoke of his experience in needing STARS. “It was ten years ago in May, South-West of Sundre. I had a seasoned horse but it was acting up, right at camp, and came over backwards on me. A medic from the drilling rig got STARS underway. I was told that I had a low percentage of ever walking again. Here I am walking. I can’t thank STARS enough.” He finished by saying how it bothers him, emotionally to talk about the experience yet today.

Usually, STARS has a helicopter, its pilots, and other representatives that attend the ride but weather was a factor this year. The helicopter couldn’t get out of Wetaskiwin due to severe electrical storms. The weather was also a factor in keeping a few riders away. Last year riders numbered 150 while this year it was down to 111.

STARS has an average of 400 events each year from golf or volleyball tournaments to this Ride and a representative attends every event. STARS has thousands of volunteers operating in three provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. STARS is a $70 million operation.

Winners of the Ride

In the 16 and Over category: 1st Place: Lynn Tanner raised $11,210, 2nd Place was Ernie Goddard $5810 and 3rd Place was Nikki Hiron $3475 with Rob Richmond an honourable mention raising $2660.

In the Junior category (15 & under) 1st Place was Chase Anderson (10 years) raising $3040, 2nd place was Reg Jones (12 yrs) raising $2710, and 3rd place was Easton Comte (5 yrs) raising $1045. Carolyn McNeill (15 yrs) was the Honourable mention raising $630.

The oldest rider was Marvin Donaghy at 91 years, while the youngest rider was McKennzie Stirling at 3 years.

Ernie Goddard is the President of the STARS ride committee under the auspice of the Rumsey Agricultural Society. He still rides in the event and is in his mid 80’s. He has been involved since the very beginning. Rob Richmond, the emcee for the day is one of a total of eight on the committee and they have a number of volunteers helping behind the scenes.

Raffles included a quilt (by Joanne Richmond), a $250 gift card, and Steam Train ride for two. “Every year, now for 20 years Alberta Prairie Railway has donated,” stated Rob Richmond. Raffle items also included a gift basket of various tickets for “Angel’s shopping spree”, and artwork by Lee Cawiezel. He creates custom pencil drawings and this year he had a Clint Eastwood - Outlaw Josey Wales for raffle and another drawing in the silent auction. There were about 56 silent auction items.