Alison Taylor’s journey with the Prairie Women on Snowmobiles (PWOS) was just as amazing the second time around.
Taylor, who hails from Carievale, was part of the PWOS Mission 2020, the 20th annual journey that took participants on a six-day whirlwind journey throughout much of the province. It started Feb. 2 in Humboldt and wrapped up Feb. 7 in Humboldt.
In honour of this year’s 20th annual mission, most of this year’s eight core riders had been involved with a mission in the past. Taylor, who was part of last year’s ride, was selected by the PWOS executive as the team captain.
“It was quite an honour to be chosen as team captain and watch us all grow in those six days. It was amazing how we all clicked together. We were all different, but all of us were after the same goal,” said Taylor.
Taylor had to attend evening meetings and relay necessary information to members.
Mission 2020 raised $98,273.10 for breast cancer research and equipment. The Canadian Cancer Society will receive $31,793.31 for research and the remaining $66,479.79 will go to the Cancer Foundation of Saskatchewan.
The mission was an extremely emotional time. They stopped at several communities each day to meet with cancer survivors, present them with a pin and give them a hug and show encouragement. Support riders joined them to travel from town to town.
“Pretty much all of our evening venues were sell-outs,” said Taylor. “Everyone just wanted to support and help out with the cause.”
She knows they are making a difference when they go to the communities, interact with the survivors and see the long line-ups for the survivor pins.
“Every time we give one of those, it is emotional, because these are women who have been hit with this disease, and are still here and they are our strength and our hope, knowing we are helping in some way,” said Taylor.
The snow was fantastic, the scenery was breathtaking and she was able to ride her snowmobile most days.
There were a couple of days when they had to put the sleds away because there wasn’t enough snow on the ground, but the mission wrapped up with a great day of sledding on Feb. 7.
“We came into fireworks that the pit crew guys had put on for us, and it was pretty exciting and emotional,” she said. “We were all overwhelmed.”
Taylor’s husband Clinton was part of the pit crew for the second straight year, and he joined the women on the trails for the first day of the tour. They covered about 260 kilometres that first day, and he was quite sore when it was finished.
“He didn’t know how we were going to do it for another five days,” she said.
Clinton Taylor said they had a lot of good riders this year, which made it easy on the pit crew.
“I met lots of new people and made lots of new friends,” he said.
It helped that this year’s ride had much warmer temperatures than a year ago, so he didn’t have to try to start the sleds when it was -30 C outside.
Each day the pit crew members would be up early in the morning to get the sleds ready so that the day’s journey could start around 8 a.m. When the riders stopped in a community, pit crew members checked the sleds out, and make sure they had lots of fuel.
“It’s a lot of work, and it’s a long ways, and you have to be places on time, so there’s not a lot of dawdling,” said Clinton Taylor.
Alison Taylor expects she is going to take at least a one-year break from the mission. She will continue to do her part to find a cure for cancer, but being part of the mission is a lot of work and it requires sacrifice from her family.
She encourages other people to be part of the tour.
“It’s such a connection that you have with every single one of these women, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve ever met them before, but if they’re wearing that vest, you are one of them,” said Taylor.