A lot can happen over a time period of two months where nothing is supposed to happen.
The Hogs For Hospice Motorcycle Rally organizing committee of seven members announced on Monday, Oct. 2 that the second annual fundraiser netted a profit of $200,000 — four times more than the $50,000 cleared by the inaugural three-day event in 2016. Shortly after the weekend event concluded in early August, the committee expected to generate somewhere above the $50,000 mark in proceeds. With a heavier flow of post-event contributions than expected however, that estimate quadrupled by the time the donation was officially made to the Erie Shores Health Foundation in support of Erie Shores Hospice.
“We made some changes, so we knew there’d be some more revenue drivers,” explained Joe Oswald, spokesperson and member of the HFH committee. “It made quite a buzz in the community. Leamington has been Ontario’s best kept secret that isn’t really a secret anymore.”
Oswald credited several community partners and groups for the unexpected level of success for the second Hogs For Hospice, including a $40,000 contribution from the Canadian federal government and $20,000 from the Municipality of Leamington. The committee’s list of board members also includes Donny Pacheco, Brian Cornies, Benji Mastronardi, Scott Taylor, Tim Iles and its most recent addition Dave Hodare. Oswald explained that this year’s success can also be partly credited to a ramped up promotional campaign that included a stop at this year’s Motorcycle Supershow convention in Toronto back in January. The show is the biggest of its kind in North America, with 100,000 visitors. The Hogs For Hospice group built an award-winning booth to display at the show.
“I am in awe of being in the presence of this board,” said Oswald. “This is the most dedicated group I’ve ever seen in my life. Our slogan is ‘One Vision, One Goal, One Team’ and everybody here is on board with that.”
This year’s Hogs For Hospice was also backed by the Leamington Kinsmen Club, Leamington Lions Club, the Roma Club and a list of other supporters ranging from the VIP sponsors that allowed all Friday and Saturday concert proceeds to go directly to Hospice to area youths who set up hot dog and lemonade stands to generate funds for the same cause.
“The residents of Leamington, our H4H sponsors and community ambassadors made all of this possible. We, as a committee, are so humbled and blessed. The Leamington community showcased the Southernmost point of Canada, and backed it up with southern hospitality,” Oswald continued.
The second annual Hogs For Hospice attracted about 1,200 motorcyclists and thousands more guests to Seacliff Park for Hairball and Our Lady Peace concerts, Jason Thorne Freestyle Motocross Stunt Shows, the retail and food vendor allies and Bob’s Biker Games. With board members, partners and community ambassadors, about 450 area residents stepped forward to assist with the fundraiser’s events and attractions — plus service club and church members who also offered their time and efforts.
Planning for the third Hogs For Hospice — slated for August 3-5, 2018 — began following a two-week break for committee members that started after this year’s rally ended. The team of organizers will again attend Toronto’s Motorcycle Supershow and has already received several requests from musical acts wishing to get involved with Friday and Saturday evening concerts. The group has also begun contacting vendors, many of which expressed interest in returning for 2018 before packing up their booths at Seacliff Park in early August.
Oswald explained that the third Hogs For Hospice will seek to achieve the same three main objectives as the first two years — to offer a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all participants and visitors, to establish community partnerships and generate further financial support for Hospice and the Erie Shores Health Foundation.