Fifty riders and 11 support crew will cover the backroads and side tracks between Dubbo and Tamworth as part of the annual Ride for the Chopper, sponsored by farm safety campaign Alive and Well.
Now in its 16th year, the charity mountain bike ride has raised over $1 million since its inception, all so that no one ever has to pay to be assisted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Tamworth stock and grain farmer and Alive and Well spokesperson, Mark Waters, said that just as the Ride for Chopper was all about the community helping the community, the Alive and Well campaign was all about farmers sharing their stories with others to help them keep alive and well on the farm.
Along the 640 kilometre route, Alive and Well will be hosting a series of community barbecue breakfasts, where they hope the community will come out to show their support for the Ride for Chopper team and have a chat with the crew about farm safety.
“The breakfasts are a great opportunity to get behind the riders and support the work that the Chopper does in rescuing people every day, while also having a think about how we as a community can help each other to stay alive and well,” Mr Waters said.
The team will be in Baradine at Camp Cypress on Wednesday, 21 September from 7:00am cooking up a barbecue brekky for the community, followed by a quad bike safety workshop at 8:00am, before the Ride for Chopper riders set off on the next leg to Coonabarabran.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Services community liaison officer and ride organiser, Mick Wilson, is delighted with the $50,000 in sponsorship and donations already raised by the riders and support crew for the chopper.
“It’s always fantastic to see the community show support for the Chopper," Mr Wilson said.
"The service is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and attends about 1000 missions a year, always with a highly skilled crew of pilots, doctors, paramedics and nurses on board."