Water Warriors ride for Special Olympics

By Steven Bitsoli
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

The Water Warriors start their 18th annual 400-mile endurance ride on personal watercraft today to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics Michigan. The ride begins at Mackinaw City, rides the entire length of Lake Huron, the St. Clair River and across Lake St. Clair, ending Friday at Harsens Island. It's a ride, not a race. The goal isn't to get to a destination first. Regular stops with additional fundraisers, evening activities and overnight accommodations have been planned. There are also boat support crews traveling with the Warriors and land support crews at each stop to ensure the riders' safety.

Formed in 1991 as a subsidiary of the Wertz Warriors' snowmobile endurance ride, the Water Warriors have raised more than $2 million for Special Olympics Michigan, including approximately $110,000 last year. They hope to raise even more this year.

Both men and women can be Water Warriors. The only requirements are that they must be at least 18 years old and raise a minimum of $1,800 from pledges, friends, family, business associates or other fundraisers. Water Warriors also pay their own expenses during the ride.

Funds raised by Water Warriors go toward helping individuals with intellectual disabilities participate in year-round sports training and athletic competition, not just the Special Olympics, at no cost to the athletes or their families.
This year there are more than 100 Water Warriors volunteers, riders and support crew, including residents of Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Fraser, Harrison Township, Macomb Township, New Baltimore, Richmond, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Shelby Township and Sterling Heights.
For more information on joining Water Warriors, visit www.somi.org, e-mail Michael Canale at canal1jm@cmich.edu or call (586) 731-0922.