Prairie Women on Snowmobiles readying for 20th anniversary ride

It doesn’t matter if it’s mild or freezing weather, residents can expect to see a group of dedicated women travelling on snowmobiles at the start of next month.

Prairie Women on Snowmobiles kick off their tour on Feb. 2 in Humboldt with visits to 24 other communities including Moose Jaw, Craven and Outlook. Their busy schedule has them going through at least four towns or cities each day.

The non-profit group travels on snowmobiles to promote awareness of early detection of breast cancer and raise money for research for cancer research and equipment.

Kelly Rea, president of Prairie Women on Snowmobiles, said each rider applies in the summertime and is and individually raises a minimum of $3,000 in order to get onto the ride.

Once their team is solidified, they travel an average of 1,400 to 1,600 kilometres of riding in six days.

“It’s a very demanding ride. In 20 years, it has made it 198 communities in the province,” explained Rea. “This is all done by 10 women on sleds, four executives and four pit crew.”

164 women have taken part in the tour over the past 20 years and some have done it more than once.

Rea describes it as a “truly Saskatchewan experience” with the amount of volunteers needed to put the ride together. The only time they won’t ride is when there’s not enough snow on the ground for their sleds, but they still continue and make their stops.

Rea said this year’s event is fairly special to her and the riders since it’s their 20th anniversary.

“Over 20 years, we’ve raised over $2.5 million for research through the Canadian Cancer Society. And in the last six years we’ve been raising funds for equipment, we’ve raised over $375,000,” added Rea.

The group is encouraging people to come out to meet the riders at one of their fundraisers or events during their stops.

She said it’s a chance to not only hear their stories, but for them to learn about other people’s experiences with breast cancer. “It gives them a sense they are not alone, and it helps the people travelling on their journey that they are not alone.”

Rea mentioned they will have pinning ceremonies where they present pins and honour survivors of the disease during their stops.

People who cannot make it to one of the events can instead donate to their cause by visiting their website. More information on this year’s tour is also available at their site.

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