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Firefighters ride for charity
Sunny Boys Health Club takes bicycles from the SCV to San Diego for education 

What started as an inside joke — local firefighters calling themselves the Sunny Boys Health Club meeting to eat, drink and be merry — has evolved into a fundraising effort for a nearby community college.

The firefighters called it the Sunny Boys Health Club; but there was little about it that was healthy.
Firefighter Ted Lindaman and his father-in-law, Austin Jordan, enjoyed the banter that went along with the annual bicycle trek of a group of Los Angeles County firefighters to Jordan’s boat.

Jordan, then a coach at Antelope Valley College, met the men onboard, serving up ice-cold beer and appetizers, and the joking began all over again.

The Sunny Boys Health Club was at its best when its members were sitting around with a few cold ones on Jordan’s boat, blowing off some steam and swapping stories about the serious nature of the peril the men face every day.

The group met for almost 26 years, until Jordan died in 2003.

But Lindaman wasn’t ready for the camaraderie to fade.

And so 2011 marks the 34th annual event, but its eighth as the Coach Memorial Ride, a fundraiser for scholarships for Antelope Valley College students.

Money raised provides a start for students at the college, defraying the cost of books and supplies.

This year’s trip was an almost 300-mile ride over three days, beginning Thursday morning in the hills above Santa Clarita and ending Saturday at Mission Bay in San Diego.

This year’s field of entrants included a number of firemen from Santa Clarita’s stations, including stations 126, 111, 104, 76 and Battalion 22, where Lindaman is a battalion chief.

Ray Nutt of Station 111 says he supports the goals of the ride, but what really makes it special for him is the time with his fellow firefighters away from the firehouse environment.

“It’s about the scholarship and spending time with a good group of guys,” said Gabe Etcheverry of Station 126.

Lindaman went on to explain that each rider contributes an entry fee of $75, with some of the money going to pay for basics, such as water for the riders on the course and fuel for support vehicles; but that the balance of the proceeds is donated to help advance the firemen’s collective goal of promoting a college education for local youth and honoring Coach Jordan.

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