CHASE — More than $25,200 was raised as part of D Bar D Ranch's Ride for a Cure, a special group ride hosted each September. This was more than $4,000 more than the fundraiser was able to collect at their 2014 event.

This was the ranch's fifth annual ride to raise money for the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City. It was hosted the weekend of Sept. 12, at the D Bar D Ranch in Chase. Ranch owner and Ride for a Cure organizer Don Beach said the event is all about having fun while doing something positive.

"We had 100 riders sign up, but we've had a lot of people pull in the morning of the ride, so we ended up with 122 riders and three wagon-loads of people," remarked Beach. "We take pledges and we gather up as much money as we can and try to have a fun weekend while doing what we can to fight cancer."

Beach believe their rides have been such effective fundraisers because everyone knows someone who has been affected — or has been affected themselves — with cancer.

"Cancer has touched us all in one way or another," he explained. "Cancer is such a widespread and common disease that everyone can support the event. A lot of people who ride and a number of people at the ranch use the facility in Reed City for treatment. This fundraiser is just a good fit for everyone."

Beach and his fellow riders have been very successful with their rides in past years having raised more than $90,000 overall. Beach said he was very happy with how this year turned out.

"We are ecstatic with the amount of money we raised," said Beach. "We were hoping for more participants, so there's room to grow next year, but we are still very pleased. We're especially thankful to the local businesses which contributed to the silent auction. The money raised from that really put us over the top."

Beach and the other staff members on the ranch started Ride for a Cure out of the desire to give back to the people who allowed them to open the ranch and keep it going.

"When we started the business, we sat down with the staff and we talked about what we can do for the community that supports what we do," recalled Beach. "It was my aunt Ida who said 'let's support cancer treatment since it has touched a number of our family members.' We kept that focus and it's something our campers and everyone who supports the ranch can get behind and they have driven our efforts to the point where they are today."

The ride was a weekend-long affair, with several riders camping on the grounds overnight. A number of events were hosted to entertain the riders and possibly attract more people.

"We started last night with a speed show and skill show for the kids up at the barn — we ran barrels, we did flags, we did down-and-back, flags, a relay race; the common speed events for horse riders," said Beach on the morning of the ride. "We raised an additional $800 last night from the local community. Today we're going to kick off a 10-mile ride at about 1 p.m. We're going to have a number of events through the evening. We're going to have a dinner with a pig roast and a silent auction with a lot of stuff donated from the community or brought in by the campers. We'll have a live band — called Stolen Horses — play tonight at 8 p.m. after dinner. Then Sunday morning we're treating everyone to a pancake breakfast. It's going to be a fun event."

The ride drew people from all over Michigan to the D Bar D Ranch, many doing so, as Beach suggested, because cancer has affected their lives.

"I'm a breast cancer survivor and this is a ride to support cancer research," said rider Nicole Wiseman. "I think they've raised a lot of money the last few years for a local cancer group and that is a really great thing to support."

Others enjoyed the added bonus of spending the day in the saddle while doing something which helps those in need.

"I do it because there has been cancer in my family," said rider Debbie Banks "We raise quite a bit of money for those who need it and we get to ride while we do it."