Aroostook County Pink Ribbon Jeep Riders draw statewide support

9 months ago

The Pink Ribbon Jeep Riders, part of the County Jeep Riders of Hope, have already duck-tagged 5,000 Jeeps from Aroostook County to Portland and beyond in hopes of drawing more Jeep riders to their third annual Pink Ribbon Ride for Hope on Oct. 8. 

The Duck-a-Jeep craze started when Jeep Wrangler owner Allison Parliament of Ontario was shopping, saw a small yellow rubber duck, bought it and placed it with a friendly note on another Jeep as a random act of kindness. Now Jeep owners around the world are looking to “duck” and get “ducked.”  

Tony Hetherington, a breast cancer survivor who also lost a grandmother and other family members to cancer, started the fundraising Jeep ride to support Bridge to Hope, a nonprofit that helps cancer patients and their families, three years ago.

“Seven years ago I got diagnosed with breast cancer and the community came out of the woodwork to help my family,” she said. “I started a team for Bridge to Hope’s annual October walk to raise money.”

But three years ago, just by chance, Hetherington was at Mt. Katahdin in her old Jeep and a woman from Tennessee came running up to her to see the vehicle. As they talked, the woman told her about Jeep fundraising events in Tennessee and a month later, Hetherington kicked off the inaugural Jeep ride for hope.

They duck the Jeeps around the state to bring attention to the ride and attract more riders to the October fundraiser. 

The Pink Ribbon Riders’ ride drew 27 Jeeps and raised $1,700; last year, 59 Jeeps and $3,700, and they drew Jeep riders from Naples, Portland and Lewiston, Hetherington said.  

This year the Maine RAM Club has joined them for the first time and added many more events and offerings. There will be raffles for gas cards, a Poker Run, high and low card hand prizes and more. 

“They have gone over and above,” Hetherington said. 

The ride starts at the Chester L. Briggs American Legion  Post 47 on Bangor Road in Houlton with a stop at Wynn’s Trailside Popcorn. It will continue to the Haynesville rest stop for a “Spooktacular” 22-mile ride through the Haynesville woods and eventually end at The Slice restaurant in Island Falls.

“He has hired a live band and is going to do an outdoor barbecue-style menu and donate a portion to the event, ” she said. “It’s huge. It’s so much fun.”

To join the Jeep ride, there is a suggested $25 donation and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Bridge to Hope. Go to Post 47 on Sunday, Oct. 8. They will be there starting at 9 a.m. until noon and then head out toward the popcorn stand.