Original Published on Aug 11, 2022 at 17:12
By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
There’s a stigma associated with motorcycle clubs that typically sparks fear, loathing, or other unjust sentiments in a community.
Those sentiments are what the Smoky River Ryders Riding Club [SRRRC] from McLennan are set to dispel as they continue their philanthropic efforts, attempting to help people who are struggling in the Smoky River Region and throughout the province.
Club president Tammy Stout says the group was started when she purchased a motorcycle and, on a whim, started a Facebook group to alert people when she and her partner, Welin Belhomme, were going for a ride. What started out as efforts to go for fun rides with friends, soon turned into a realization that their group could help people who were going through tough times in the community.
“I am very proud of the group of people who are part of the Smoky River Ryders,” says Stout, noting that there are currently 15 members.
“We are always here to give a helping hand and I couldn’t be prouder to be considered a rider within the Peace Country.”
The group has so far raised money to help a local man who was left paralyzed after hitting a moose pay for expenses to attend a Boccia Ball tournament, another local individual who needed help buying food, and a family to buy a headstone for their loved one.
Although just in their infantile stage of being a patched club, SRRRC has lofty goals to reach out to as many people as possible, and an extensive list already in place of individuals they know need help.
“The riding community is very generous and always willing to give a helping hand,” says Stout.
“We continue to support our local businesses and communities throughout the Peace Country.”
In their short tenure, SRRRC has participated in a benefit ride for Smoky River Fire Department, a benefit ride for Thirteen Rising, and a benefit for the Crooked Creek Burger Shack, who needed to sell many burgers before they spoiled. The rides were all hosted by other bike clubs, further showing the camaraderie and support clubs across the province provide one another and the communities in which they reside.
SRRRC is hosting a show and shine for cars, trucks, and motorcycles on Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the H.W. Fish Arena in McLennan.
Part of their goal in hosting the event is to spread the message of what their club is trying to do in our region.
“We wanted to hold a fun event for local people to attend,” says Stout. “We’re hoping to hold the event annually, to provide something different for families to look forward to.” The event will feature several businesses including Cree8iv Ink, a psychic reader, 57 Legends, Scentsy, Tupperware, Fine Touch Sewing, Crafty Creators, Epicure, Mary Kay, The Blanket Guy, Color Street, and some food trucks.
This will be their inaugural major event in the region, but they plan on growing their efforts so they can help more people.
Stout urges people to come out, meet the Ryders and have a deeper conversation about what they are doing.
Whenever you see a SRRRC patch, know that they are always accepting donations for the local food bank and bottle donations to go towards various folks who need assistance. “We feel we have an opportunity to give back to those who may not fit into a certain category or who do not qualify for funding in different areas,” says Stout.
“We want to help those who sometimes feel that there is no one out there and give them hope that things can get better,” she adds.
This item reprinted with permission from South Peace News, High Prairie, Alberta