Proceeds from Debbie Gabel Ride Benefit Hospice

The Thundering Saints have donated $8,000 to Hospice of the Red River Valley, generated from proceeds of the fourth annual Debbie Gabel Memorial Ride held in Valley City on July 28.

The donation will be used to provide compassionate end-of-life care to those in Valley City and surrounding communities.

Rocky Gabel, who started the ride in honor of his wife who died of cancer, said Monday the event has grown since it began in 2009.

Debbie 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.

“We started with 55 bikes the first year, and had 200 this year,” Rocky said.

The event also included an appearance from the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders, a breakfast served by Relay for Life, a raffle, a silent auction and supper at the VFW, and a street dance. The raffle’s grand prize, a 2012 Harley Davidson Heritage Classic, was won by a woman who has a son with cancer.

For future rides, Rocky said the raffle grand prize might be changed to something else. “I plan to change things up a bit,” he said.

The ride always takes place the fourth Saturday in July, and Gabel expects to continue that date in the future.

“That way we keep it consistent with other rides,” he said.

Although the amount raised and donated this year was good, Rocky said, “I’m never happy with the numbers. My goal is to keep my wife’s name out there and help fight cancer. Whether $8,000 or $15,000 is raised, it helps.

“There are only like 12 weekends during the summer, so it can be hard to schedule (motorcycle) rides when nothing else is going on.”

Rocky said the event also helps participants feel good about themselves, by participating in a cause that helps other people.

Rocky said, “The proceeds of the event stay local, and the community has really rallied to make it a success.”