Gary Hora of Woodridge, Manitoba, knew some things had to change if he was to continue to enjoy the Manitoba backcountry on his ATV. Riding opportunities around Woodridge had changed drastically and there was pressure from those who wanted to ban ORV use altogether.
"In our riding area in the past 10 years we have seen many changes," said Hora, "from a large increase of ORV use to forest fires and heavy storm damage to the area, as well as public pressures to ban ORVs. Our club has been at the forefront assisting with these issues and will for years to come," said Hora, president of The Woodridge Sand Hogs.
Vast areas of Crown land in Hora's southeast corner of Manitoba were lacking a designated trail system. He’s worked tirelessly for four years with Manitoba Conservation to develop trails and maps to promote safe riding and accessiblilty. In 2012, a massive snowfall hit the nearby Sandridge area, blocking many of the trails with fallen pine trees. Through the help of many ATV Manitoba volunteers, the trails are now about 45 per cent open.
Hora has promoted stewardship education, fundraising and governmental relations as a director at large for ATV Manitoba for the past six years. He's also been the eastern regional director for ATV Manitoba for four years, and is a founding member of the Sand Hogs back in 2009.
A family affair
Riding is a way of life for Hora and his family. His youngest, Kendall, age 15, has been enjoying ATVing with her father for over 13 years. Being a passenger was simply not enough for this spunky girl and for the past two years she’s been riding her own 2012 Arctic Cat 425 LE.
“Girls can ride as good as boys,” said Kendall.
It is her dream to blow out her Sweet 16 birthday candles on top of a mountain and her father plans to make this dream a reality this summer.
Hora’s oldest daughter Toni also enjoys adventure in the backcountry. She still makes time to ride her ATV and now is branching out into dirt biking and sledding, thanks to an adventurous boyfriend.
Hora’s wife Donna has been riding with him since 2000. Initially a passenger, she was quite content simply going along for the ride until she purchased her own ATV in 2009. She gets a feeling of empowerment through horsepower on her 2008 Arctic Cat 400i.
Hora himself has enjoyed ORV riding since he was a child.
“I feel relaxed when riding. Bad days and life’s stress seems to disappear when we take time to have fun.”
Telus Ride for Dad
Telus originated the Ride for Dad in 2000 as a prostate cancer fundraiser. Participants ride motorcycles, watercraft, snowmobiles and ATVs for awareness and to raise money in support of this very worthy cause.
ATV Manitoba was among the first ATV associations to participate in the Ride for Dad and Hora eagerly supports this event, alongside chair Jim Backus. The group hopes to raise $10,000 for prostate cancer. Last year's event was well attended despite a torrential rain shower, with 108 riders and many local celebrities participating. This year’s ride will be September 13 in Stonewall, Manitoba.