Interview by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest
Steve Hopkins is an IRS collections manager who attends Salem MB Church in rural Bridgewater, SD. A long-time volunteer auctioneer for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Relief Sales, he took a bike ride in July that raised $40,000 for MCC. He rode from Rock Valley, Iowa, to the Mississippi River in the week-long Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).
How did you get started riding bike?
I always liked riding bikes when I was a kid, but in college I gained weight and couldn’t get 10 miles. I’ve lost 140 pounds in the last year and got back on the bike.
What prompted your interest in RAGBRAI?
It’s been on my bucket list. When they announced that it was leaving from Rock Valley, just 20 miles from my office, I figured I’d ride a couple of days.
Why do you call it your “Dam Ride?”
Dave Klassen from the Twin Cities MCC Sale challenged me to make my ride a fundraiser for MCC. I decided to raise money for MCC’s sand dams in Kenya. Later I learned that the ride ends at a dam on the Mississippi River that RAGBRAI calls “the best finish by a dam site.”
You ended up riding more than a couple of days.
Yes, I committed to ride one day for every 300 bags of cement at $10 each. But then my church gave me a very generous matching gift and challenged me to raise $32,000. In the end people gave almost $40,000 — enough for three whole dams!
Four MCC Sale auctions collected matching gifts and I put it out for all of my Facebook friends to share my blog with their friends.
How was the ride?
I just blogged and giggled and laughed the whole way. I was excited to ride the whole week and even more excited about the money we’ve raised doing it.