HOLLIS – Last year, when she began organizing a charity ride to raise money for the St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center in Nashua, Sue Keough, a member of the Hollis Nor’Easters Snowmobile Club, named it the PINK RIDE, in capital letters.
But in recent weeks, as the Feb. 11 date approached and the winter weather remained mild, Keough began developing a backup plan, and a new name: “The Little PINK RIDE That Could.”
“If there’s no snow, we’ll walk,” she said, determined to keep the capital letters in the event’s name, and the goal of raising $2,500 for charity.
Keough is also interested in bringing more women into the sport.
“I reached out to our two sister clubs, the Wilton Lyndeborough Winter Wanderers and the Brookline Ice Breakers,” she said.
The idea for the charity ride grew out of a women’s snowmobile ride Keough organized last winter.
“Twelve ladies rode from the Silver Lake State Park parking lot to Chrysanthi’s Restaurant in Brookline to be greeted with roses and nice brunch,” she said. “All the ladies had a great time and wanted to do it again.”
Keough was eager to oblige.
First, she called Diane Nadeau, president of the Wilton Lyndeborough club and a snowmobile instructor.
Then, she contacted two snowmobiling friends, Brookline resident Cindy Lou Dougherty and Hollis resident Jeanne Cleveland.
“After we had a ride leader, I felt we needed a committee to help organize and support the PINK RIDE,” Keough said, adding that she also invited U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, another female snowmobiler.
By last week, the group had raised $1,000 for the cause, and Keough was hopeful that the donations would continue to come in.
“It’s been a lot of snowmobile families,” she said.
“We’re getting the word out there. At every club event we promote the PINK RIDE, and what I have found is that along with ladies that want to ride, there are also many supporting our cause.”
Women have also been approaching Keough to ask about trying the sport.
“When I first started riding, I was riding with guys and it got a little intimidating,” Keough said, recalling how meeting Hollis Nor’Easter member Jeanne Cleveland inspired her. “Jeanne welcomed me with open arms, and it made all the difference.”
Ten days before the scheduled fundraiser, 20 riders had signed up, in spite of the bare trails and roads.
The white T-shirts with “PINK RIDE” printed on the sleeves in pink letters were ready for distribution.
And Keough was staying upbeat by repeating the phrase that was helping her stay focused: “The Little PINK RIDE that Could,” she said, conjuring images from the children’s story with a similar theme.
“If we can’t ride, I’m hoping the riders will still meet us at Silver Lake for a PINK WALK, and then we’ll head over to Chrysanthi’s for a club-sponsored brunch,” she said.
The PINK RIDE will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, in the parking lot at Silver Lake Park in Hollis, on Silver Lake Road, Route 122.
For more information, or to donate to the benefit for the St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center, contact Sue Keough at 966-2742.
Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.