“This is the seventh year that we’re doing the Sled for Eternity,” said Daniel Emond, development director for Teen Challenge. “(The idea) came together when we were meeting with a friend of Teen Challenge and he was talking about how every Sunday morning he’d see snowmobilers riding through his parking lot. He just kind of wondered what these guys saw in driving these machines.”
Teen Challenge has since found out how serious Manitoba snowmobilers are about riding. Sled for Eternity, the resulting charity initiative, has been an increasingly popular event with 180 riders showing up to participate last year. The event includes a hot barbecue lunch, a catered wind-up dinner and some pretty sweet prizes.
The upcoming Sled for Eternity will be held on January 25, 2014, at Brokenhead River Community Hall in Beausejour, Manitoba, less than an hour northeast of Winnipeg. The ride starts at 9 a.m. and registration is available at the event, although pre-registration is appreciated. The route is generally around 300 kilometres with a sledhead option that adds an additional 50 to 100 kilometres. Families are welcome.
“It’s a great ride,” said Emond, a sledder himself. “Every year we do, I think, an excellent job on picking out trails that are in the best condition and then we mark out the trail really well so that even a beginning snowmobiler will feel safe and welcomed. For the real sledheads it’s like a breeze—they love it. The number 1 highlight, I can say, is that it’s always been good riding—even in adverse or negative weather conditions. We’ve heard nothing but positivity about the actual trail ride.”
Reasons to ride
Most participants do additional fundraising to benefit Teen Challenge. The organization provides year-long residential treatment programs, truly helping people make positive life changes. The organization doesn’t receive government funding and any money raised from Sled for Eternity goes directly towards operational costs. Fundraisers will have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes, along with check-stop prizes. So far the prize lineup includes a 2014 Polaris snowmobile, a hot tub and a flatdeck trailer. There is also an incentive for clubs to raise money through the club challenge. A work crew from Teen Challenge will help with trail cleanup when certain fundraising thresholds are reached and the club with the biggest contribution will receive a catered wind-up party.
There isn’t a downside to Sled for Eternity and it seems that folks in Manitoba are ready to get out and ride.
“The responses have been nothing but amazingly positive,” said Emond. “For everybody that comes out to the event it’s always been, ‘I’m so glad I came and I’m coming again.’ I see the same faces every year, but then it just continues to grow and grow. A lot of people say, ‘I’m so thankful that I was able to come out and ride today and this was a great ride, great food, great cause.’ It’s totally something that, if you’re a snowmobiler, it’s a win-win-win for everybody.”