From left: MCHS teacher and trip organizer Greg Boutestein, bike recipient Christie Grant, Lorette Champagne and Jim Douville pose for a photo after Grant was presented with a bike in memory of Roger Champagne, one of the founders and volunteers of the original MCHS bike trip. – Lucie Roy Photo
By Morinville News Staff
Morinville – It has been many years since Roger Champagne was gunned down in Las Vegas by a man looking to feed his drug habit, but the Morinville man, well known for his kindness in the community, has never been forgotten by friends, family or the hundreds of MCHS students who were born some years after the man’s passing. Such is the legacy of Roger Champagne whose memory is honoured each year by MCHS students who take to the mountains for a bike ride that bears his name.
Champagne was one of the original people to organize the mountain bike trip and built a tandem trailer to haul the bikes and supplies to the starting point of the trip. After the riders began their journey, he’d follow the students in his vehicle, offering help and a ride to those who encountered trouble along the way – if he couldn’t fix their bikes himself. Champagne, well regarded for his skills in the kitchen did much of the cooking on the trips.
Twenty-one years after that initial trip, the students of MCHS are about to embark on the journey once again. Trip organizer and MCHS teacher Greg Boutestein said the students will travel 220 kilometres from Lake Louis to Jasper between May 23 and 26. This year’s group of Grade 9 to 12 students, alumni and parents number approximately 12, a little smaller group than in recent years.
Once again this year, the trip’s official kick off was the presentation of a new bike to one of the trip participants. The bike, presented in memory of Roger Champagne, was made by Champagne’s widow Lorette and nephew Jim Douville. The bike, purchased and partially subsidized by Cranky’s Bike Shop of St. Albert, was presented to MCHS student Christie Grant. This is the 19th year Roger Champagne’s family has made a bike presentation to an MCHS student prior to the annual trip.