Fewer miles, more riders helped this year’s Ride to Farm attract new supporters

This year’s Ride To Farm fundraiser aimed to cast a wider net, and it accomplished that goal, according to Dick Cates, Director of the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers.

“We established a cadre of supporters that we previously had no connection with,” Cates said. “We met people who really believed in the idea. That was really powerful for us.”

The school has been holding its annual cycling fundraiser each June for several years, but this year’s event took a new tack. Previous rides were multi-day treks in which a small, selected group of riders rode a couple of hundred miles. This year’s event was a 60-mile day-long ride (with a half-day 30-mile alternative) that anyone could join.

This year, about 30 cyclists brought in about $5,000. That was similar to the take from previous rides. Expenses were a bit higher, partly because of the need for insurance and permits that Dane County requires for a ride of this size and type.

“But the potential is great, because we’re starting to attract broader audience,” Cates adds. Organizers can tap into a larger pool of riders who can pay the registration fee and bring in donations.”

Two of the biggest money-earners were also the youngest riders. Jimmy and Sam McGlynn, aged 10 and 9, raised more than $700. They are sons of WSBDF co-director Jennifer Taylor.

The ride began and ended at Lake Farm County Park, just south of Madison. Midpoint was the farm of Dan and Shelly Truttmann between Blanchardville and New Glarus. At the farm riders enjoyed a catered lunch of local foods and met six WSBDF alumni.

“They talked about how their adventures in realizing their dream of starting their own farm,” Cates says. “And two of the six also participated in the ride.”

Also on the ride were three mechanics from a Madison bike shop, Banjo Bicycles, which donated technical support services.