42nd Easter Seals Ride-In offers fun for a good cause

By Debra Thornblad
Special to the Union Leader
February 09. 2014 7:06PM
Gov. Maggie Hassan poses with Easter Seals volunteers at the 42nd annual Easter Seals Ride-In event this weekend in Gorham. (Debra Thornblad Photo)

GORHAM — The weather was brisk, but Gov. Maggie Hassan bundled up and joined a half-dozen Easter Seals children and their family on a 17-mile snowmobile ride Saturday

Several rode on snowmobiles behind N.H. Fish and Game officers. A couple of ski-boos, similar to those pulled behind bicycles, were provided for children who needed them.

This weekend is the 42nd annual Ride-In for Easter Seals, with headquarters at the Town and Country Motor Inn in Gorham.

Throughout the morning, snowmobiles came and went, some accessing the trail behind the Town and Country, and others enjoying a ride down Gorham's Main Street. The town had laid a track of snow for snowmobilers between the sidewalk and road. Later Saturday afternoon, a torch- light costume parade was held along that trail.

A snowmobile experience

Fish and Game Capt. John Wimsatt said this has been a successful partnership between Fish and Game, the N.H. Bureau of Trails, the N.H. Snowmobile Association and Easter Seals for decades.

"The goal of the event is to allow these children to have a traditional snowmobile experience," he said.

This event is the sole fundraiser for Camp Sno-Mo and has been successful for years, Wimsatt said. Located in Gilmanton Iron Works, Camp Sno-Mo allows children and young adults with disabilities and special needs, ages 11-21, to inclusively participate alongside Boy Scouts in a variety of activities, including water sports, team sports, hiking, archery, a ropes course and crafts. The campers explore new adventures, develop confidence, discover new abilities, make connections and build friendships. The yearly proceeds from the Ride-In allow more than 100 children to attend camp.

Last year, the event raised $81,000 for the camp. Over the years, the N.H. Snowmobile Association has raised more than $2.5 million for Easter Seals.

Manchester child picked

Each year the event chooses an Easter Seals host family, Mike Cormier of Easter Seals said. This year it's the Mead family of Manchester, parents Kelly and Mike and children Carter and Chase. Carter is the Easter Seals representative child this year.

Both Mead children went on the ride, as did two children from the Williams family, last year's host family, and Susie Conlon, who has participated on the ride many times.Other events Saturday included a poker run sponsored by the local snowmobile club, the Presidential Range Riders, an antique snowmobile show on the Gorham Common and children's activities, including a scavenger hunt. On Sunday, the awards and closing ceremonies were held.

Human InterestWinter FunGorhamPhoto Feature

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