TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
A motorcyclist pulls into the Brandon Armoury at the end of the third annual Defenders Motorcycle Club’s Memorial Motorcycle Ride on Saturday afternoon.
The third annual Memorial Motorcycle Ride from Winnipeg to Brandon doubled in size from last year. More than 90 motorcycles took part in Saturday’s ride compared to 35 in last year’s event.
Motorcycles line 11th Street at the end of the third annual Defenders Motorcycle Club’s Memorial Motorcycle Ride on Saturday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Master Cpl. Jean-Paul Reil plays the bagpipes during a barbecue at the Brandon Armoury following the Defenders Motorcycle Club’s third annual Memorial Motorcycle Ride on Saturday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
The ride put on each year by the Defenders Motorcycle Club raises money to help support Canadian Forces veterans.
"There is a big need for support for veterans in Canada," said Percy Zapata, president of Defenders Motorcycle Club Chapter 19. "We choose a new charity each year to raise money for direct support for soldiers."
Participants in the ride left Headingley Sport Shop in Headingley at 12:45 p.m. and arrived at the Brandon Armoury shortly before 4 p.m.
The Defenders Motorcycle Club is made up of Canadian Forces members and rides similar to this take place at different chapters across Canada.
"I joined Defenders 12 years ago in Nova Scotia," Zapata said. "Then I helped to found Chapter 19 here in 2007."
The annual Memorial Motorcycle Ride raised more than $4,000, which doubled last year’s total.
Money raised came from the registration fees for the ride along with a barbecue and silent auction held at the Brandon Armoury following the ride.
All of the money will go to Soldier On, an organization dedicated to helping retired or serving Canadian Forces members with illnesses and injury.
"We are helping our brothers," Zapata said. "We are helping them by supporting organizations that can help them right now, unlike current government services."
Soldier On works with soldiers to help them accept their new realities with illnesses and injury through an active lifestyle.
Past memorial rides put on by the local Defenders Motorcycle Club have raised funds for Valour Place and Wounded Warriors.
"I am ecstatic about the turnout for the ride," Zapata said. "It was a collective effort from all our members and supporters."
Plans are underway to present a cheque to Soldier On representatives at CFB Shilo in the near future.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 23, 2014