By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — A fundraiser to assist mentally and physically handicapped individuals will be held Saturday at Rend Lake.
The fundraiser is being hosted by nine Division 33 Kiwanis clubs.
“We put on a couple of events a year for the physically and mentally challenged,” explained Mt. Vernon’s Bike Ride Chairman Jim Shurtz. “This Bike Ride is a fundraiser to support those two events.”
The events are a Fun Day, which offers boat rides and other water-related activities; the other event at the Benton Civic Center is a Christmas party.
“We usually have 700 guests and treat them to a picture with Santa, entertainment and lunch,” Shurtz said.
The Bike Ride will start at 8 a.m. at the Rend Lake Visitors Center. Rides of 12, 30, 60 or 100 miles will be available. The registration fee is $35 per individual or $50 per family, up to six family members.
All participants will receive a Kiwanis T-shirt, bandana and goodie bag.
“We’ll have staggered stops every 15 to 20 miles where they can use the restroom or receive water, Gatorade or fruit snacks,” Shurtz said.
The Kiwanis will also have vehicles following the riders for safety, and to assist any riders who need it.
“Four courses will be marked off and they will be given maps. We want to keep track of the riders so we know where they’re at,” added Kiwanian Lou Costa.
Kiwanis clubs hosting the event, in addition to the Mt. Vernon club, are from Benton, McLeansboro, Fairfield, Salem, Carmi, West Frankfort, Mt. Carmel and Flora.
Approximately 55 people have pre-registered for the event, and Shurtz anticipates about 100 participants in all.
“Last year we had 125 riders, and from past rides, usually about half pre-register and half don’t. With a good weather forecast for Saturday, we might do a little better than 100,” he said.