Annual ride-in raises money for Make-A-Wish

ATLANTIC MINE – Snowmobilers from around the Midwest descended upon the Copper Country Saturday for good trails and a great cause.

The ninth annual Ride-In for the Make-A-Wish foundation was held Saturday, starting with rides around the Keweenaw and culminating in a banquet at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. Funds this year went towards sending 4-year-old Brody Etelamaki of Chassell to Disney World. Etelamaki was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year.

Etelamaki was presented with a Yamaha 120 snowmobile from Pat’s Motorsports in Greenland.

“It’s amazing,” Tanya Etelamaki, Brody’s mother, said of the support. “It’s humbling to see how many people come together for complete strangers. The community has continued to astonish us with its support. And there are people here from out of state,” she said.

Brody has undergone six surgeries, as well as radiation treatment, chemotherapy and physical therapy. But he’s held up well, Tanya said.

“For everything he’s going through, he still manages to smile,” she said. “There hasn’t been a day since he’s been diagnosed that he hasn’t smiled at least once.”

About 100 people attended Saturday’s event, about 98 percent from out of the area, said organizer John Dee. The “Poker run” stops went from Greenland on the south to Copper Harbor on the north.

Dee said the event would probably raise $10,000 to $12,000.

“It is outstanding,” he said. “When I go to the businesses to solicit, I know I’m not the only guy coming, and there’s never a hesitation. I go in there, and it’s ‘What can we do for you? What do you need?’ … and these 100 people, they’re almost all from out of town, which means they’re coming into town for this, they’re spending money here.”

Mark Krisiean of Duluth has attended multiple times.

“I think it’s great,” he said of the purpose. “It’s a good thing.”