Trent Ernst, Editor
It’s been a long road.
In fact, it’s been over ten years since Gordie Graham and the late, lamented Dennis Payment tried starting an ATV club.
Gordie Graham, who had been the president of the Pine Point Motorcycle Club for 24 years before moving to Tumbler Ridge says he organized a ride shortly after moving here in 1988 (“Tumbler Ridge was flooded with so many ex-Pine Pointers there was jokingly talk about changing the name to Tumbler Point or Pine Ridge,” says Graham), but after that first trip in 1989, nothing happened for years.
“Denis put his name up at the Tourism Information Centre for contact information for trail directions,” says Graham. “Without a club, we kept moving on, and Denis was the big push for our first Poker Run.”
In 2009, a serious attempt to start a club was made, and 40 people showed up to the preliminary meetings. But when the call came to form an executive, nobody save Graham stood up. “The 40 enthusiasts disappeared like a puff of smoke,” remembers Graham.
It took nearly four more years, but early this year, Graham started meeting with local Tim Croston, who agreed to help form the club. “Together we met with Mayor Darwin Wren,” says Graham. “We took him on a tour around town and pointed out many ATV problems. Darwin saw the interest and concerns we had and made Don McPherson the councilor in charge of the recreation portfolio. We met Tim Bennett, the Recreation Officer for the area. He was surprised we had no ATV club in place as Tumbler Ridge is a much preferred motorized tourist destination.”
Bennett told the two that there is plenty of money available for developing trails, but that, without a club, the trails that were already in place were not protected.
“Tim and I keps spreading the word and soon were joined by many more ATV enthusiasts. We called a get together in the hotel, and seven of us met, and finally, gracefully, Christopher Holmister volunteered to become club president.” The group contacted ATV/BC, and were told that they only needed ten people to become an official club. “I called him back in ten minutes and said we already have 20.”
On May 7, the formative meeting of the new club was held. There were dozens of people in Room 4 at the Community Centre. An executive was appointed, and in the short time the club has had sign-up books, they’ve managed to get 56 people signed up.
Graham says that the club’s next move is to meet with Tim Bennett again to discuss formalizing trails and funding. “The club members are very excited about our future endeavors,” says Graham. The possibilities are endless. We have an events committee already planning poker rides, an ATV Jamboree, camping trip rides, trail maintenance, construction and more.”
Graham says that much of the club’s activities will be centered around doing what ATVers love to do: getting out and riding, and there’s already a number of directors in place to lead day rides.
“It’s all good. Way to go, Tumbler Ridge,” says Graham.