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Abbey's Ride on the River to raise money for Special Olympics

Abbey's Ride on the River will celebrate the life of Abbey Rother and raise money for Special Olympics. Submitted photo

An upcoming fundraiser to be held at the Hastings pavilion at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, will remember the life of Abbey Rother by raising money for Special Olympics with Abbey's Ride on the River.

"(Abbey) had a soul that glowed," said Craig Holm, owner of CycleBar in Woodbury.

Holm has known Abbey's parents for years. He went to middle school with her mother and they graduated from Hastings High School together in 1979. Abbey, who was born with Down syndrome, died in 2015. It was Holm who suggested celebrating Abbey through CycleGiving, a way that CycleBar gives back to the community.

CycleGiving partners with local organizations and charities to help raise donations. The fundraisers promote health and wellness while also raising money to benefit a cause.

On the day of the fundraiser, the pavilion in Hastings will be filled with 20 stationary bikes from CycleBar. People can pay to ride the bikes for 30-minute increments throughout the fundraiser. Adagio Djay Entertainment will also be on scene for musical entertainment during the rides.

"It's really cool to ride to music and when you're looking out at the Mississippi River and the bluffs, so it's kind of an experience more than anything else," Holm said.

In addition to the rides on the stationary bikes, there will be a beer garden sponsored by the Busted Nut, food trucks, raffles and a silent auction. Silent auction items will include donated items from businesses around town, Twins tickets, hockey memorabilia and more.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward Special Olympics. Holm said that the fundraiser will be benefiting something that Abbey loved.

"(Abbey) was a special person, so what we wanted to do was put something in her name that would make a memorial to her," Holm said.

Kathy O'Connell, Abbey's aunt, said that Abbey was involved in almost every sport with Special Olympics. Abbey played hockey, softball, basketball, track and more. Bowling was her favorite, she said.

O'Connell said that not only was Abbey involved with Special Olympics, but she was very active in the community. Many people in the community knew her, she said.

"When she worked (at Cub Foods), she knew so many people in town, she'd get in trouble at work because people would come and talk to her," O'Connell said.

O'Connell said that it is hard to describe how many people Abbey has touched, but it is an honor to throw the fundraiser event as a way to celebrate Abbey's life. Something that her and the rest of the family try to do everyday, she said.

For more information about riding one of the bikes at Abbey's Ride on the River, visit

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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