While most attention spans in the area will focus on rodeo, a 50-person team spinning feet and wearing shorts is set to arrive in Eastern Oregon next week.

Ride for a Child, a biking team part of the statewide organization called Candlelighters for Children with Cancer, will be riding along with other peddlers in the annual Cycle Oregon event, which will make its swing through Pendleton on Thursday, Sept. 16.

Dick Hartung, organizer for the Ride for a Child team, said the event holds extra significance for area residents. The group honors a half-dozen children with their annual rides, and members chose Hermiston residents as two of the six this year.

David Young, one of the honorees, passed away in July after succumbing to the cancer he battled for three years. Hartung said Young’s family plans on participating in the event.

The other honored child from Hermiston is Riley Arriola, who has also battled cancer for years.

Participants in Cycle Oregon, an annual event attracting bicyclists from across the Pacific Northwest, will be taking a day off on Friday, Sept. 17 to enjoy the Round-Up and the sights of Pendleton.

Members of the Ride for a Child group will not take the day off and will instead ride to Echo at about 9 a.m. to raise money and awareness for their cause. Hartung said the individual children are the main motivation and focus of their ride.

“Each year we invite honored children to be part of our team,” he said. “They become the face of childhood cancer and help represent the programs and services offered by Candlelighters.”

Those services include personal assistance, post-diagnosis therapy, informational meetings and other advocacy programs.

The organization, based in Portland and serving families in southwest Washington and all of Oregon, is a non-profit which raises all its funding from private sources.

More information about Candlelighters and Ride for a Child is available at www.4kidswithcancer.org.

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