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4th Debbie Gabel Memorial Ride

July 24, 2012

Rocky Gabel (left) and the late Debbie Gabel, for whom the memorial is named.

The fourth annual Debbie Gabel Memorial Motorcycle Ride, Raffle and Street Dance will be held Saturday in Valley City.

Registration for the motorcycle ride begins at 9 a.m. in the Veterans Memorial Park parking lot, with the ride beginning at noon. Cost to participate is $20 per bike, and much of the net proceeds benefit Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Rocky Gabel of Valley City said Monday he established the annual event in honor of his wife, who died from ovarian cancer in 2009. Debbie was diagnosed with cancer in 2005. She went through seven surgeries and three rounds of chemo-therapy before she died from the disease.

“I wanted to keep her name out there and my personal motivation is to help at least one other person with cancer,” Gabel said.

Gabel said the event has grown since it started. “The first year we had 50 bikes, and last year we had 300.”

Gabel said along with the hospice, money raised is also given to the local Relay for Life campaign.

Gabel said money raised helps the hospice to continue operating in Valley City. “Debbie was in hospice for six weeks. I once thought of hospice as the grim reaper, but they’re not. They are really nice people. There are so many people with cancer, and we need them (the hospice).”

Debbie and Rocky took up motorcycling as a hobby in 2007, and they decided to travel to Sturgis for the South Dakota town’s world-famous motorcycle rally because “it was on our bucket list.”
The new hobby and the good people they met on the rally impressed Rocky and his wife so much they bought motorcycles of their own when they returned home.

Gabel said he was a little concerned about the motorcycle riders they might find at the Sturgis rally, but he discovered 99 percent of riders are good people “like you and me – One percent of bikers are the bad boys.”

In addition to the motorcycle ride, this year’s event will also include a silent auction, street dance and raffle. The street dance will begin at 9 p.m. on Main Street between Central Avenue and 2nd Avenue East. The Christian Simmons band will play.

The raffle and silent auction, hosted at the VFW, will benefit Hospice of the Red River Valley. Raffle prizes include a 2012 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic, a 32” flat screen TV, $300 gas card and a $300 beef bundle from Valley Meats. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance or at the event.

For more information and where to purchase raffle tickets, visit www.thunderingsaints.com.

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