For Ordean “Lex” Lexvold, Sunday’s Cruise motorcycle ride for the Ronald McDonald House was part of his plan to stay young.
“I’m trying to act like I’m 65,” the 84-year-old Lexvold said.
Actually, Lexvold was older than 65 when he took part in the first Cruise 15 years ago. And he’s been back every year, riding as he did this year, from his home in Circle Pines on Saturday, staying overnight in Rochester, riding his motorcycle in the Cruise on Sunday, and heading home Sunday evening.
It’s a tradition and a reunion for Lexvold. “Some of these people I only see once a year,” he said.
Riding with Lexvold this year was Duane Hodge, of Stewartville, a relative youngster who just turned 65.
“This is a great fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House,” said Hodge.
After the 168-mile ride through southeastern Minnesota, Hodge planned to participate in the parade with hundreds of other motorcycle riders from Rochester Community & Technical College to the Ronald McDonald House on Second Street Southwest.
“It’s a feeling of jubilation,” Hodge said. “It’s good to see the community supports us. A lot of people are already on the sidewalk before you get there.”
At the Ronald McDonald House, where riders were treated to ice cream sandwiches and other treats, it was announced during a short ceremony that this year’s cruise raised $94,981. That brings the 15-year total to nearly $1.5 million.
Sunday’s ride was the longest in the history of the event, said Galen Lohrenz, who founded the event and continues to help organize it. There were stops in Fountain, Rushford and Mabel.
“A lot of people like to travel southeast Minnesota so that’s where they’re going this year,” he said.
Despite the damp weather Sunday morning, Lohrenz was optimistic that at least 1,350 riders would take part in the Cruise. Besides those on motorcycles, another 60 or so volunteers help run the event, which includes silent and live auctions.
“Anytime you’ve got something for kids, people will come out and help,” Lohrenz said.