Recent charity snowmobile rides in Rangeley and Caribou saw record contributions the last couple of Saturdays.
The 12th annual Busch Sport Scene Snowmobile Ride for Charity in Rangeley hauled in more than $10,000, said Turner’s George Campbell, who conducted the event on Feb. 5.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s seventh annual Andy Santerre Sno-Run in Caribou raised a record $50,000.
The Busch Sport Scene Ride benefited the MS Society, the Special Olympics and the Travis Roy Foundation. The Santerre event aided the Aroostook Mental Health Center’s Sexual Assault Services.
“We’ve gained (in donations) every single year,” said Joe Chamberlain of Caribou, who organizes the event along with his wife, Lorraine. “It was a sold-out crowd again of 320 people at the supper.”
Both charity rides featured a snowmobile run in the morning and afternoon followed by raffles and auctions.
There was a small delay to Campbell’s auction as the condo he shared that evening was broken into.
“One of our guests had to run to the condo to grab something,” explained Campbell. “She starts to walk towards the door and the door opens up and a guy walks out.
“After she came back to tell us, we all go back and the guy was coming out of our condo again, and he had four wine glasses in his hand. Apparently he had owned our condo years ago, but when he sold it, he never turned in his keys.”
Robert Vitale, a deputy warden at a Rhode Island prison, according to a Corrections Department spokesperson, was arrested along with an associate, William Kessler of Athol, Mass.
The Santerre ride didn’t feature any hiccups, and the ride went smoothly.
More than 170 snowmobiles lined up to spell “MAINE” inside an outline of Aroostook County as aerial photos were taken. The image measured 250 feet tall by 250 wide.
A children’s snowmobile donated by County Sports Polaris in Caribou was raffled off, and for the first time, the winner was present at the dinner. Dylan Ouellette, an 11-year-old from Fort Kent, won the snowmobile. He was also the youngest rider that day.
“He was pretty excited,” said Chamberlain. “(But) he was disappointed that he couldn’t take it home that night.”
Some of the auction items were bid higher than expected.
A framed autographed picture of New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker proved to be the hot item at the Rangeley event.
Larry Koob, his brother, Mike Koob, Jim Place and two-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion Mike Olsen competed for the picture.
“Olsen bid 800, Place at 825, Olsen at 850 and Larry went to 875,” said Campbell, who lost his voice on that item.
“That was one of the last items. We started at $25 and the increments were 25 at a time. By the time we were at 500, my voice was starting to go. It was hilarious,” said Campbell. “By the time we sold it, my voice was out. It was worth it, though.”
Campbell said that was the last time he’ll run his event, but Chamberlain said he and his wife will keep organizing the sno-run with Santerre as long as people want to come.