The Gleaner

Tractor Parade raises over $8,500 for Betty Riel Foundation

Tractors of all ages and makes, from farms from across the Haut-Saint-Laurent, were paraded from Saint-Antoine-Abbé to the Huntingdon fairgrounds on June 26 as part of an annual fundraiser for the Betty Riel Foundation.

A total of 62 tractors were entered in this year’s edition of the Betty Riel Tractor Parade. The event raised over $8,500 for the foundation, which provides Haut-Saint-Laurent cancer patients with up to 14 free rides per year to attend treatments.

“They have all made my dream come true,” says Betty Riel, while looking out over the field lined with tractors at the fairgrounds.


Betty Riel stands in front of a field of tractors following the tractor parade on June 26. More than 60 tractors made their way to the Huntingdon Fairgrounds to raise money for Riel’s foundation PHOTO Sarah Rennie


“I can’t thank people enough from everywhere who have wanted this to go on and continue,” she says of the foundation, which she started 15 years ago with the goal of providing transportation to cancer patients who are forced to travel for treatments. “This is exactly what it was meant to be,” she explains. “It is people helping each other.”

In 2019, the foundation sponsored 941 rides. The pandemic saw a dip in demand, but it is starting to pick up again as public health measures are lifted. Riel says her goal is to bring the number of free rides per year up to 15 as soon as possible. She notes it is fundraisers such as the tractor parade that will make this happen.

Parade organizer Kevin Dineen says he “couldn’t be happier” about the 62 drivers that participated in this year’s event, which included a group of 20 that drove all the way from Howick, as well as the Franklin Fire Department and Hinchinbrooke Fire Brigade who were especially helpful in securing the route.

“I believe in Betty’s cause, and it is a community thing,” says driver Lorne McNaughton. “I think it’s just amazing how everyone just works together,” he adds.

Riel even took part in the parade, riding in McNaughton’s T7260 New Holland tractor driven by his granddaughter Kayla, who learned all about the foundation en route. “It was more than a thrill,” laughs Riel, of both the experience and of the overwhelming show of support by the farming community towards her foundation. (SR)

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