Riders train for harness race

GETTING READY: Racers in the 2012 Celebrity Harness Race have been training at Pat Currie’s Big Rapids Township Farm. Pictured (from left to right) are racers Jeff Bollman, Melonie Hengesbach, Tyler Schuberg and Joni Thompson, and trainers Matt and Pat Currie. Not pictured is racer Ken Ramsey. (Pioneer photo/Jonathan Eppley)

BIG RAPIDS — Pat and Matt Currie have been diligently training five local celebrities to race in the Celebrity Harness Race during the 2012 Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair.

Joni Thompson, Melonie Hengesbach, Jeff Bollman, Tyler Schuberg and Ken Ramsey will participate in the 15th annual celebrity race on July 11. Riders regularly have been taking lessons at the Currie farm on West Avenue.

Thompson is riding on behalf of her nonprofit organization Angels of Action. She won her seat in the race during the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Gala.

Hengesbach is riding on behalf of St. Mary’s Catholic School. She won her seat in the race during the St. Mary’s Spring Gala, raising $1,850.

Schuberg will ride in the race in honor of his grandfather, the late Carly Schuberg, and on behalf of the Friends of Ferris. A total of $3,600 was raised during the Friends of Ferris annual dinner for Schuberg to ride in the race.

Bollman earned his seat in the race at the 2012 Shamrock Invitational golf event in April. A total of $5,000 was raised at the event. He is riding on behalf of the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer and Wellness Center.

Ken Ramsey is racing for the Mecosta-Osceola United Way on behalf of the Big Rapids UPS hub, where he is manager. He won his seat during an United Way auction, in which $1,500 was raised.

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