Riders on stationary bikes spin at the 22nd annual Great American Bike Race at Legacy High School in Bismarck in 2018. The Sanford Health Foundation-sponsored event gathers teams of riders to spin in a family-fun, carnival-like atmosphere to raise money to support children and young adults with cerebral palsy and other related health conditions. 

The Bismarck-Mandan community has been fortunate to have a lot of caring people. Throughout the year there are events to help those in need. In the spring and fall, especially, there are walks, runs and other activities where money is raised to combat illnesses and assist those fighting them.

This Saturday will be the 23rd annual Great American Bike Race at Legacy High School. GABR started small with 10 teams who rode stationary bikes, but they raised $9,500 for families with children with cerebral palsy and other childhood-onset conditions. Last year there were 130 teams with 1,522 riders who raised $422,000. Since its beginning, GABR has provided $3.5 million to families. This year’s goal is $500,000. That’s impressive.

What’s also impressive is the effort that goes into the race. Some of the bikers get very competitive since prizes are awarded to those who register the most miles. Each team has 15 members, with 12 riding in a 20-minute heat. You can go as fast or not so fast as you want. If you have ever attended the event you know the riders get sweaty and tired. At the same time they are having fun. The teams have catchy names and some riders sport costumes. A lot of volunteer work goes into the event from registration workers to timers, setup and cleanup crews.

Those riding in the event raise money beforehand and then they ride for more.

GABR was started by some local doctors and other volunteers. It was modeled after the Cerebral Palsy Stationary Bike Race in Winnipeg, Canada. The Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba helped Bismarck launch its event. The event has grown every year since.

As noted, GABR is just one of many events held throughout the year to benefit people in the community. From Relay for Life to GABR to smaller church events to help someone in the congregation, North Dakotans show their compassion. Even in hard times, residents find ways to give.

The 2019 GABR Stars are Emma Williams, 5, and Fredrick White, 7, just two of the people the bikers will be helping. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Legacy High School. Breakfast and lunch will be available for a freewill donation.

For those riding on Saturday and the other participants in events throughout the year, good luck.

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