The BikeMS: Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) makes its return to Montevideo this coming Monday, July 21. The last time TRAM cyclists rolled through town was on July 27, 2009.
Two hundred cyclists and a group of 100 support personnel are expected to begin arriving at Smith Park early in the afternoon on Monday. The group will leave from Willmar in the morning, pass through Clara City, then ride through Maynard.
From there, the cyclists will take county roads to Montevideo and enter the city on State Road before winding their way to Smith Park, where they will camp overnight.
This year’s TRAM marks the 30th anniversary of the event. The inaugural event in 1989 kicked off in Ortonville, and this year’s route leads back to Ortonville where cyclists will stay for two days.
It takes a lot of planning to pull off a large scale local event such as this. Organization and coordination are a must to successfully plan an event such as this, and three people stepped forward to work together on the project: Mike Dupere, Tesa Siverhus-Maus, and Dustin Citrowski. All were responsible for hammering out the details and lining up volunteers.
Indeed, volunteers are the backbone of many worthwhile projects. “We really want to thank the people behind the scenes who have helped us put this together,” said Dupere. Siverhus- Maus added: “Without the many people who have volunteered their time and energy to help, we would not have been able to do this.”
A number of local businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals from the community came forward to help prepare for TRAM. Dupere said,
I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to those people. A lot of this is being accomplished through in-kind donations. The Sheriff’s Department, the Police Department, and the ambulance crew are all volunteering their time.”
Siverhus-Maus extended an invitation to the community: “The public is cordially invited to attend the gathering at Smith Park. There will be a wide variety of food available from local businesses, churches, and other organizations. DJ Systems will provide music beginning at 3 p.m.. Then, at 7 p.m., local classic rock & blues band The Hepcats will perform until quiet time at 9 p.m.”
The cyclists will set up tents for the night, and in the morning, a breakfast will be served. Then, it will be time to undertake the next leg of their journey to Ortonville.
All of those miles ridden by the cyclists are for a great cause: raising money to fund the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. BikeMS is the largest fundraising bike series in the world. Each year, 75,000 cyclists and 6,000 teams participate.
Over the years, BikeMS cyclists, volunteers, and donors have raised an amazing $1.3 billion for the fight against MS.
MS is a rare disease, affecting 200,000 people in the U.S. each year. The disease causes a person’s immune system to attack and eat away at the protective covering of nerves.
The disease interrupts the flow of information not only within the brain, but also between the brain and the body. Common symptoms include vision loss, pain, fatigue, and impaired coordination. MS can be treated, but there is no cure.
So, the struggle to fight MS continues, and money raised from this year’s TRAM will be put to good use.
“Come down to Smith Park on Monday afternoon and evening,” said Siverhus-Maus, “Come for the food, the music, and good conversation with these special visitors to our community!”