Drivers may want to keep an eye out for groups of cyclists as they head to the Whiteshell next month. On Saturday, June 3rd, supporters of Red Rock Bible Camp will be riding down Highways 15 and 44 as part of the 54th annual fundraising Cyclathon.

Setting out from Landmark, Steinbach and Winnipeg, participants will cycle approximately 125 km. to Rennie, from where they’ll be shuttled to the camp. There’ll be a designated lunch stop on Highway 15, and riders who’d prefer a shorter journey can begin their Cyclathon from there as well. Once everyone’s arrived, they’ll be treated to dinner and an awards program.

As Red Rock’s office manager Evelina Kehler explains, all monies raised will support camp operations directly.

“The funds will help supplement our fees, as they don’t cover everything that’s needed,” she says. “They’ll also be used to give the summer camp experience to campers who might not be able to pay for it otherwise.” Staff salaries will also be paid in part by the Cyclathon.

“Last year we raised just over $70,000,” says Kehler. “Our goal this year is $85,000. If we could reach it, that would be great.”

The event has always been popular, as its longevity suggests. The first few Cyclathons were actually two-day rides, and participants would spend the night in tents. It’s now a single-day commitment—held annually on the first Saturday of June.

Last year, 65 Red Rock supporters took part in the Cyclathon and 50 have so far registered for this one. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers could expect between 80 and 100 riders. Anyone interested can sign up on the camp’s website. Cyclists and their families are also invited to stay the night at camp and enjoy the next day’s Open House, which runs on the 4th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The general public is also welcome to attend the Open House, which will include a free community BBQ at 12:30 p.m.

It’s a fun, active, social event that supports an important cause, and Kehler points out that it’s also a community-wide endeavour.

“We can’t run the Cyclathon without the support we get from local businesses, sponsors and volunteers,” she says. “We are very thankful for the great support we receive from our local community.”

For example, each of Steinbach Dodge, Fairway Ford, Ledingham and Barkman Concrete are providing vehicles to accompany the cyclists. Then there are the sponsors, which include Priority Auto Tirecraft, Lawton Partners Wealth Management and Blackstone GPA.

Kehler adds that camping spots remain for campers from Grades 4 to 7, and registration can be completed through the Red Rock website. Campers’ families and prospective cyclists can also reach the office by calling (204) 326-9784, ext. 1.