Canyon Lakers Mike Claeys, Jarred Paulsen, Tim Boman, Shawn Viola, Monica Viola, Brayden Viola, Patty Easterly, Todd Barsby and Gavin Viola came together to support a friend at the “Ride for Route 91.” The event was created by their friend Menifee resident Sarah Sleeter.
Sarah and her four friends were enjoying the evening like many were on Oct. 1 at the Route 91 Harvest, a three-day music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The night soon became a night that many wish they could erase, and will never forget. As the shooting began, Sarah and her friends fled for safety. Thankfully they all made it to safety and survived the horrible ordeal.
A woman Sarah had made friends with over the three days was shot and passed away. It was her first country music concert. When Sarah returned home, she felt she had to do something to support the 58 families who had their loved ones stolen from them by the cowardly shooter. It was at this point that Sarah and husband Mike Sleeter came up with the benefit bicycle ride “Ride for Route 91.” Two days later, they had a flyer and a video of Sarah speaking about her experience at the festival. Within a day, they had 25 riders committed and raised more than $4,000 dollars.
Within two weeks, the determined couple organized the entire event. Sarah and Mike were amazed at the support of the community. They had companies calling to donate product and people calling to help as volunteers.
The benefit ride left from Jax Bicycle Center in Murrieta. Two hundred and thirty riders showed up to support the event along with countless volunteers. The ride featured several different distance rides with the longest one, of course, being 91 miles. The Canyon Lake men all rode the entire 91-mile course. Monica rode 64 miles and Patty rode 43 miles. Nine-year-old Brayden rode 43 miles and brother Gavin, a member of the Elsinore Valley mountain bike team, rode 20 miles. The event raised $36,104 dollars that will be donated to help the families that lost loved ones.
Monica said the most memorable parts of the day were the group prayer prior to all the riders leaving and when everyone in attendance released 58 balloons, one for each victim of the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
The event can be followed on Instagram at Ride for Route 91.