HJ/EDJune 12, 2006

Firefighters' motorcycle run to stop in LP

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

The streets of Lester Prairie will be filled with the roar of hundreds of V-twin engines Saturday afternoon, when the Friends of the Firemen motorcycle run rolls into town escorted by the Lester Prairie Fire Department.

This year marks the fifth running of the event, which is a fund-raiser for the Shakopee Fire Department, according to organizer Ed Schwaesdall.

Nearly 600 people have signed up for the ride this year, Schwaesdall said.

Riders will assemble at Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, 230 S. Lewis Street in Shakopee.

Registration is from 9 - 11 a.m., and the ride will leave at 11:30 a.m., rain or shine.

The ride fee is $15 per person. All proceeds benefit the Shakopee Fire Department.

From Shakopee, riders will travel to Delano, Lester Prairie, Henderson, Jordan, and back to Shakopee.

The route has changed each year since its inception. Riders stop at a bar in each of the destination cities for refreshments. There are raffles at each bar for prizes that have been donated.

The Dodge House will be the stop in Lester Prairie.

Each bar pays organizers $200 to participate, with $100 going to the Shakopee Fire Department, and $100 going to the local fire department.

“The biggest challenge has been finding places that have the ability to hold 500 to 600 people,” Schwaesdall said.

The participating bar, and other local businesses, such as gas stations, benefit from the ride.

“In Lester Prairie, the grocery store will be selling pop, and the meat market will be selling sandwiches, so it is a plus for everyone,” Schwaesdall commented.

The ride is expected to reach Lester Prairie between 1 and 1:30 p.m., and will remain in town for about an hour. The fire department will then lead them out of town again.

The goal of this year’s ride is to raise money for construction of a confined-space training room for the fire department.

Landscape Solutions of Delano is creating a prototype for the project, which will cost an estimated $20,000.

“This room will provide a safe working environment for the firefighters,” Schwaesdall said.

Last year’s ride brought in about $17,000, he added.

Firefighters from around the state participate in the event.

In each destination city, the riders are escorted into town by the local fire department.

This gives firefighters from other areas the opportunity to see the equipment, and possibly meet some of the local firefighters.

“It gives each department a time to shine,” Schwaesdall commented.

Safety is a priority for organizers.

“We work with the local police and fire departments, and with the state patrol and county sheriffs,” Schwaesdall said.

Even though the ride is a benefit for the Shakopee Fire Department, all of the towns involved get something out of it, according to Schwaesdall.

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