Red Serge Gala on menu for Tour de Rock riders

NANAIMO – Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock riders to be hosted at Red Serge Gala dinner and fundraiser.

Members of the 2013 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock team will likely be ready for a feast after a week on the road riding more than halfway down Vancouver Island.

Organizers will be ready for them with the Nanaimo Tour de Rock Red Serge Gala.

The Cops for Cancer fundraiser event happens Sunday (Sept. 29) at the Coast Bastion Hotel featuring a buffet dinner and cash bar, prize draws, live and silent auctions and live entertainment.

“The gala will be a semi-formal event,” said RCMP corporal Norm Smith, organizing committee member. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to come on over and meet this year’s Tour de Rock riders.”

Each year a team of police officers and media guest riders from communities across the Island train several months for the 1,100 km Tour de Rock that starts in Port Alice, visits 27 Island communities along the way and finishes in Victoria to raise money for Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for children with cancer and their families, and children’s cancer research and support programs.

This year’s 21 riders started their journey Saturday and will spend nearly two weeks riding a course potholed with physical and emotional challenges before they dismount for the last time Oct. 4.

The gala will be emceed by Nanaimo RCMP Supt. Norm McPhail with a live pre dinner concert performed by Daragh Fitzgerald.

“He’ll sing for about 45 minutes and then the Tour de Rock riders will arrive,” Smith said.

Auction and draw prizes are fit for a major annual gala. Winners of top live and silent auction items will take home a game-played hockey stick autographed by Matt Irwin of the San Jose Sharks who was a former defense man and team captain with the Nanaimo Clippers, furniture donated by Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress, a bar fridge custom painted in Tour de Rock jersey colours and stocked with the kinds of refreshments you’d expect to find in a bar fridge, a wall of wine, an Island weekend getaway package and other awesome items.

Guests can take a chance pulling a prize out of a hat – in this case a B.C. Lions football game getaway package – by purchasing a Cops for Cancer ball cap or toque for $20.

“In each hat will be a number,” Smith said. “We’ll draw for the number and whoever wins that gets the package to Vancouver.”

Everyone else who didn’t win still goes home with some cool Tour de Rock head gear.

Get there early for a chance at the Island weekend getaway. Chances are limited to one deck of playing cards being sold for $20 a card, which definitely ups the odds of winning.

Gala tickets – available at Coast Capital Savings branches, Inn at Long Lake, and the Canadian Cancer Society Nanaimo Branch office at 777 poplar St. – are $60 per person or $480 for a table of eight.

Doors open at 4 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m.

For those who can’t make it to the gala, the riders will be attending events Monday morning (Sept. 30) in Nanaimo before mounting up and cycling down Island, starting with a pancake breakfast hosted by Investors Group Financial Services offices at the corner of Uplands Drive and Turner Road.

Everyone is invited to have breakfast by donation with the team. The event starts at 8 a.m. with the team riding in at about 8:30 a.m.

“Some of the managers, some of the consultants, some of the support staff will all be there,” said Chuck Campbell, Investors Group division director. “It’s a fairly large team effort… as a matter of fact, I’m typing up a notice to RBC and the dentist’s office that we’ll be tying up their parking lot for a couple of hours.”

More action happens downtown at Diana Krall Plaza where there will be music, dancing, face painting and plenty of other activities for kids plus the barbecues will be fired up for a lunch by donation when the team rolls into downtown Nanaimo.

Being a pro-D day this is a great chance for children around town to come down and meet the team.

“The team will arrive at noon, but things gets started at 10 a.m.,” Smith said. “We’re trying to create a fall festival atmosphere, get some dancers and music in. We going to have a dunk tank and we’re working on a bouncy castle just to make it more of a fun event.”

There will be head shaves, cheque presentations and plenty of chances to meet and talk with team members, including Const. Misty Dmytar, the rider representing Nanaimo RCMP detachment for 2013.

“If anybody wants to donate or have their head shaved, please come on down,” Smith said.