New Richmond dad hopes to raise money for youth
When Brad Hildebrandt set a goal to ride his bicycle to Wausau from New Richmond, he did it for personal reasons.
When his son started playing U9 soccer this spring, he found a new reason for the ride - to raise $2,500 for the New Richmond Youth Soccer Association.
Hildebrandt's son plays on the fields near St. Croix Press, he said.
"If you look out there, you can barely see the lines on the field," he said. "As the season went on those lines got fainter and fainter - to the point that, as a parent, we couldn't tell whether the ball was in play."
Hildebrandt said he was told the soccer association had chalk they could use on the fields, but he said his $2,500 goal will help buy a more permanent paint for the fields.
Hildebrandt said it's not just the St. Croix Press fields that need help. He says the fields at Freedom Park (formerly Hatfield Lake Regional Park) are in worse shape.
"Hatfield is a dust bowl," he said. "They have no irrigation out there and that's the problem."
Hildebrandt said the fields at Freedom Park were built on old farmland and are very bumpy and dry.
"We hosted a tournament in June, the dirt kicked up by the wind coupled with balls that bounced in all directions made for an interesting and embarrassing afternoon," he wrote on his website.
"I figured I could complain or I could actually do something about it," he said.
Hildebrandt's 170-mile ride is scheduled for Sept. 21-22. He said he plans to ride 110 miles the first day -- from New Richmond to Medford. He'll pick it up again on Sept. 22, when he completes the route from Medford to Wausau.
"My mom lives in Wausau," he said. "That's how I picked it."
The ride has required a bit of training.
"I try to get out as often as I can," he said.
During the week, Hildebrandt said he bikes 20-25 miles. He saves the 60-65 miles rides for the weekend.
"My favorite route is 140th Street," he said. "I ride it all the way down, just past 94. It's 13 miles one way," he said.
Other routes -- 22 miles to Hudson or 21 miles to Amery -- are left for the weekend.
Hildebrandt said he's gotten good feedback from the community.
"I have 27 likes on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/NrYouthSoccerFundraiserRide) and it's really spread by word of mouth," he said.
A few local businesses, including Crazy Ladies Kitchen, have put up fliers to help Hildebrandt reach his goals. As of Tuesday, Sept. 4, Hildebrandt said he had reached $1,000.
To donate, visit http://tinyurl.com/99qogbq/.