Pictured: The Cranbrook Rotary Club’s Gran Fondo Committee is joined by service club representatives that volunteered in various capacities during the event.

Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo celebrates volunteers, sponsors

The Cranbrook Rotary Club honoured volunteers and sponsors of the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo last week with a gala at the Rocky Mountain Prestige Resort.

The Gran Fondo, which wrapped up it’s sixth instalment out at the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino a week ago, included a group of 420 riders, with nearly 500 that had registered prior to the event.

Al Dyck, a club member, told the crowd that over half the riders came from Alberta, while the furthest participant came from Tennessee, in the United States.

In addition to the riders, the event boasted 149 volunteers and over 30 sponsors.

The Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo is marketed as a ride, not a race.

However, the top finishers for the gran fondo distance (153 kilometres) included Dallas Cain for the men at 4:09:58, while Lisa Barnes finished first in the women’s division at 4:24:43.

The top finishers in the medio fondo (102 kilometres) included Steve Donaldson at 2:48:55 and Jeanette Wagner at 3:10:11.

The fastest piccolo fondo (53 kilometres) riders featured Brandon Gallia at 1:53:54 and Laura Grant at 2:03:04.

Frank Vanden Broek shared some testimonials from riders, all of which were complimentary of the event.

The Gran Fondo, which features three distances ranging from 50-150 kilometres, has grown from humble beginnings that attracted 230 riders in the first event seven years ago, to capping out at 500 riders over the last few years, with plans to grow further in the future.

Some of the money raised from the event was distributed to local volunteer groups that helped out in various capacities, with $500 cheques going to:

• Wasa and District Lions

• Mark Creek Lions

• Cranbrook Rotary Club

• Kimberley Volunteer Ski Patrol

• Mount Baker Secondary School athletic department

• North Star Rails 2 Trails Society

• Kimberley Rotary Club

• East Kootenay SPCA

• Kimberley Speedwatch Group

The gala, which also doubled as a regular Rotary Club meeting, also honoured the volunteerism of Al Skucas and Neil Shuttleworth, both of whom received a Paul Harris Fellowship award for their work on local trail network development, particularly with the Chief Isadore Trail from Cranbrook to Wardner.

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