There’s something very special happening in Canada’s prettiest little town.
Friendly, supportive, and charitable groups of motorcycle enthusiasts (aka bikers), gather to show off their rides while supporting Big Brothers and Sisters of Grand Erie (BBSGE).
Myles Rusak, C.E.O. of Big Brother and Sisters of Grand Erie, began Bike Night In Paris (B.N.I.P.) in April 2017, hoping to have thirty or forty people attend to raise funds for the charity. To his surprise, four hundred people came that first night, and this event has grown to thousands of people without any expense in marketing. Word of mouth and social media sharing certainly worked, and I’d like to share some insights that are valuable for the people of Brant County.
First, where and when: Wincey Mills parking lot at 31 Mechanic Street. The surrounding area, gets transformed into a motorcycle show that includes and welcomes everyone on two and/or three wheels. All models, years, makes, and styles are welcome. August 7th is your opportunity to join in the evening from 6pm till 9pm.
Motorcycle enthusiasts are so eager to attend, some arrive as early as 4 p.m. Great news because four restaurants within walking distance offer “Bike Night” specials including; Cafe Europa, The Grand Bayou, Cobblestones, and E.D.I.T. inside the Arlington Hotel. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, Eskimo Joe’s has a line around the block during the show. Eskimo Joe’s donates their proceeds to BBSGE.
Speaking of donations, on July 13th B.N.I.P.’s 50/50 draw winnings was $1,000, and a gentleman from Sudbury won the cash. The winner generously donated $900 back, and kept $100 for gas and food for his travels home. My point? Bike Night In Paris draws wonderful motorcycle people from all over, and they are generous.
The heavy rain on July 24th cancelled the last show, so August 7th attendance is estimated at 4,000 people with over 1,000 bikes.
There’s plenty to do while you’re there. A different band plays each event and Boogie Infection is scheduled for August 7th. The style of music is classic rock, and updated 60’s rockabilly. Children have been seen dancing their little hearts out at the stage.
Mark and Paul, two very important volunteers, have run the barbecue at every show. Their food is ‘donate whatever you feel’. This concept has worked incredibly well with $50,000 projected in donations between the 50/50 draws and barbecue proceeds. 50/50 draws wins are typically $400 to $500.
Sponsors are a mixture of thirty seven local, family run businesses. That’s impressive and shows the amount of support towards bike night. Only one sponsor per event gets space to showcase their business. Rusak said he’s reserving spaces in 2020 because 2019 is fully booked.
Of course B.N.I.P. has a merchandise tent on site and motorcycle enthusiasts are proud to wear their B.N.I.P. t-shirts, as well as a varity of patches that are available to purchase. The highly sought after ‘moose’ teddy bear, will be available on August 21st!
Where does the donated money go? Towards helping the 120 children in Brant County who are waiting for their matches at Big Brothers and Sisters of Grand Erie. BBSGE are currently understaffed, and refuse to compromise excellence, so donations will include staffing. BBSGE needs adult volunteers who are eighteen years old or older. Should you be interested to become a “BIG” volunteer, as in mentor, to a child between the ages of 6 to 18, please register here.
BBSGE is running a new program for youth in the L.G.B.T.Q. community. If you’re a parent that’s not sure how to address your teenager regarding this topic, this ‘one-of-a-kind’ A.L.L.I.E.S. program is for you. Myles Rusak, C.E.O., has over-achieved once again by exceeding his goals to improve youths self-esteem, and social interactions through this new initiative.
Now, do bikers still sound like a terrifying bunch of people after reading all this? I think the media channels have painted a dangerous picture of bikers, when in fact 99 per cent of them are generous and helpful in their own ways. One riding group Rusak is associated with, raised and donated over $500,000 towards charities last year. I’m leaving his group unnamed because I think charitable donations are a common theme throughout the bikers/motorcycle enthusiasts world. Yes, Rusak is also a motorcycle enthusiast/biker with a fitting road name, Robin Hood.
Let’s help make that negative stigmatism a thing of the past and move towards a more positive outlook. Come and see for yourself how much fun this evening has to offer, and absolutely bring your children, and grandparents.
Upon leaving the interview, a complete stranger said to me “Hey, remember next Tuesday is Bike Night In Paris.” Perfect. See you there!