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Recently I was in the great state of Maine to visit with leadership of one of our member organizations, ATV of Maine. This is a very progressive and very well organized state level group that has a lot of things working for ATV enthusiasts in Maine. I am impressed with what they have accomplished and what they are getting done. I want to share just one example of why this group is so successful.

While I was there, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the annual Cornfield Cookout and Ride. For the last 6 years the Cambridge Cruisers ATV Club (just one of the 100+ member clubs of ATV Maine) sponsors this ride to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation of Maine. Originally starting as a one day event, the Cornfield Cookout and Ride has evolved over the years into a weekend get-together. People travel to the event from all over Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to attend. Campers start coming into the field next to the Cambridge town office around noon Friday and stay until Sunday morning.

On Saturday morning this year, the crew from another ATV Maine Club, the Abbot Explorers Club, led 60 ATVs on a day ride to Kingsbury and back. The dinner and cornfield ride took place Saturday afternoon and evening.

The barbeque chicken, pulled pork and hot dog dinner was awesome. Cambridge folks, Karl Greenman and crew, started cooking early in the day and at one point even had me shucking corn. By the end of the dinner, the crew had amply fed the 540 people present. That is a lot of people to feed and thankfully, with the loan of every table and chair available from the Cambridge Church, everyone had a place to sit after rotating through the food line.

Tom Peaco of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine was on hand to address the participants during the dinner. In his statements, Tom praised the past and current efforts of the Cambridge Cruiser ATV club, as did Congressman Tom Allen who was also on hand to address participants.

Immediately following the dinner, ATV Maine held the drawing for their raffle to raise funds for their new safety trailer. Ticket holders took home some very good prizes that had been graciously donated by dealers and businesses throughout the state.

Just as the sun was setting for the evening, 371 ATVs lined up for the night ride though hayfields, cornfields, woods trails, and, of course, you can't forget the cow barn. I was particularly impressed to see what a wonderful relationship the Cambridge group has developed with the local landowners. Many of the local landowners were sitting out in their yards and on their porches waving enthusiastically to the crowd as the ATVs paraded by their houses into their fields. The majority of the ride was through the local fields with interconnecting links through the local woods.

The ride was a total hoot! The experience of riding with 370 other ATVs snaking around in the corn stalks at dusk with the lights on was amazing. The Cambridge group has this event well organized and kept the 371 ATVs moving at all the difficult junctures throughout the ride. Uniquely, the Cambridge Club had even arranged to have most of the fire dept. there with radios lending help for break downs.

Sunday morning, the event wrapped up with members of the Cambridge club serving breakfast for those who camped at the event. This year's event was supported by many local businesses with several on hand as vendors and donating to the cause. With all the help and donations from ATV clubs from all over Maine, this year the Cambridge club raised an event record total of $7,135.00 which is ample funding to completely grant a wish for a child in Maine. Well done everyone! It was good clean fun benefiting a very good cause.

All of the members of the Cambridge Cruisers worked hard all weekend to make this event a big success. It was fun, it came from the heart, and it came from hard work. With this event as but one example, it certainly makes it easy to see how the good folks in ATV Maine are getting things done in their state.

óGreg Mumm is the Executive Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition. For questions or comments on this article or related issues, he may be contacted through the BRC main office: 4555 Burley Drive, Suite A, Pocatello, ID, 83202. Phone: 208-237-1008, Fax: 208-237-9424. Email: brgreg@sharetrails.org.

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