Best ride ever: A day out with the Woodridge Sandhogs ATV Club

Creating camaraderie with family and club members in southern Manitoba

by Jeff Johnson

Gary Hora’s family owns a collection of quads, which are lined up in front of a forest.

Gary Hora’s family has a collection of quads. — Photo courtesy Gary Hora

The president of the Woodridge Sandhogs ATV Club feels there’s nothing better than sharing his favourite pastime with the next generation.

Gary Hora has served as his club’s president since its founding in 2008. The Woodridge Sandhogs has also been an active member of the province’s ATV association since 2009.

It was in a meeting with the board of directors of the Manitoba ATV Association six years ago that the seeds for Hora’s most memorable quadding trip were first sown.

Hora said several of the board members were interested in seeing what the trails near Woodridge, Manitoba, were all about.

“They all said they should come out riding–some had never been out this way and some had not been that way for years,” Hora said. “Then they said ’Do you mind if we take the kids?’ and I said ‘no problem.’ Our boards got together, we all have daughters and sons around the same age and it became a family ride.”

A trip for all ages

To Hora, this was a trip that he did with his family all the time. To the Manitoba ATV board members and their families, though, this was new terrain, a familiar experience that Hora got to experience through a fresh set of eyes.

“To them, it was brand new. What turned out to be originally planned as a five- or six-hour ride turned into a nine-hour ride and then a barbecue later at my house,” Hora said. “Everybody was excited and tired when they were done, but the look in the eyes of the kids was priceless.”

Hora remembers 11 kids going out for the ride that day.

“To see the younger riders take up a sport that many of us older guys have been into or graduated into through the years,” Hora said. “You see them start off and learn and listen and find every corner new and exciting. They want to go that little extra mile.”

Bonding on the trails

Hora was also impressed by how quickly the young riders bonded, considering some had never met before that ride.

“It’s amazing how they all made friends so quickly. It was amazing to watch the 10 and 11 year olds taking care of the six year olds like little babysitters,” Hora said. “It was really cool to see some of the 12 and 14 year olds overseeing and guiding them along.”

Hora felt seeing the kids bond and the adults enjoy the new terrain were a strong reminder of what the Woodridge Sandhogs is all about.

“It reminds you why we do what we do . . . all the volunteer hours that we do as club members, all the meetings, all the phone calls, all the emails,” Hora said, “for the sheer excitement of getting out and enjoying nature, the camaraderie, making new friends and just experiencing ATVing with a side-by-side or that kind of thing.”

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