Join us on Friday, August 16th as we cycle from Walton Raceway to Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth to raise awareness for mental health.
Schedule of Events:
11:00am Depart Walton Raceway, Gate A (42852 Walton Road)
12:00pm Complimentary Lunch at Cowbell Brewing Co., Thresher’s Hall, generously sponsored by UNIFOR Local 636
1:00pm Return to Walton Raceway
11:00am – 1:00pm Silent Auction
Distance Traveled: 28KM round trip
Registration: Free, first 50 riders receive a custom Marin Bikes event jersey!
TO REGISTER OR VOLUNTEER: please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 519-870-7223
On Friday, August 16th Tanner Ward along with the Tanner Steffler Foundation will do a “Ride with Me” day. Riding alongside and working with other pro athletes, industry leaders and friends within the motocross community, Tanner will lead the group on a bicycle ride from the 2019 Walton TransCan GNC to Cowbell Brewing Co. in Blyth, a 28KM round trip. The ride will be an opportunity to not only spread awareness but to also meet those who may also be struggling, the friends and families affected and represent an act of hope for a better future. The ride is being held in memory of Tanner’s brother, Jeff Ward, as well as every single person we have lost from mental illness.
We are asking for industry support for this initiative which Tanner hope’s to hold annually. Teams to commit their riders, brands to add their name to the cause to lend weight, and industry leaders to help us draw media support. We would like each rider who participates to also receive a commemorative jersey – but we can’t do this without the support of the motocross community. The ultimate goal of the Ride With Me day is to raise awareness; any funds remaining after expenses will be donated to the Tanner Steffler Foundation, a local charity in Huron County focusing on mental health, addiction and wellness in youth, with a portion also being donated back to CMHA Woodstock (Tanner’s hometown).
Why Tanner Ward?
‘Hi my name is Tanner Ward and I am a professional motocross racer. On July 2nd, 2018 my family and I lost my oldest brother Jeff to suicide. This has changed my entire life, and it is something I would never wish upon any family to have to go through. My goal is to raise awareness about mental health within the motocross community.
I didn’t know a whole lot about mental health before the passing of Jeff, but I have learned so much during this process. Suicide is a serious public health problem with lasting, harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. It is the second leading cause of death after car accidents in Canada among those aged 15 to 24. Suicide and mental health are deeply connected and it is estimated that 90% of people who die by suicide were experiencing a mental health illness.“
Why Walton and the Tanner Steffler Foundation?
The Walton TransCan serves as a perfect backdrop for this special event. Jeff Ward’s favourite track was Walton, and we were honoured to host the family last fall as they celebrated his memories here. Tanner is also a multi-time national amateur champion at Walton, and the TransCan has been a local event for Tanner who grew up just over an hour away.
The Tanner Steffler Foundation is a foundation local to Huron County. Established in August 2017 by John & Heather Steffler after losing their 19-year-old son to mental health and substance use disorder – specifically opioid addiction. The focus of the foundation is to enhance and improve the Mental Health and Addiction resources and support networks that are in place for youth between the ages of 12-24 within Huron County. Youth Mental Health and Addiction is a broad area of concern for the entire healthcare, law and education partners and is an identified area of need within our community.
And for Tanner Steffler himself, he spent several summers working as a flagger and track kid around the raceway; his family is originally from Walton. The Ward brothers and Tanner Steffler’s lives would have crossed many times as the years passed, without any of them the wiser.