Here we go — Tour de Rock kicks off

Pedro Arrais

Cowboy boots. Check. Epic country band in a cool venue. Check. Jack Knox in a bedazzled, heart-and-clover embroidered cowboy shirt...uh, what the heck kind of fundraiser is this anyway?

The Duke Saloon, dubbed Victoria’s only country bar, was absolutely rocking Thursday night, which is where I hosted Country Rock for Tour de Rock, the penultimate fundraiser in a whirlwind summer of events to support the Canadian Cancer Society.
Times Colonist music reporter Mike Devlin kicked off the night spinning tracks from Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan as people filed in to the bar.

By 8 p.m., Electric Timber Company took the stage, strumming out classics like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Call Me the Breeze, Bill Withers’s Ain’t No Sunshine and some of their originals. Their bluegrass/roots sound mixed with a country twang was so great, it didn’t take long before people were two-stepping on the dance floor.

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The Victoria music collective was represented by Mike Roma on banjo and vocals, Caitlin Tally on vocals, Ron Bell on keyboard, Matt Bromley on slide guitar, Aaron Scoones on drums, Alex MacCuaig on bass and special guest Theresa Pasaluko who wowed everyone with her stunning voice.

A special thanks goes out to the band for donating their time, the Duke’s Joel Friesen for providing the venue and letting us collect donations at the door and to Brent Dobbie from Molson Coors for donating several flats of Coors Banquet. Overall it was a huge success!

Now I’m sitting at my desk on the last day before the Tour de Rock team leaves for Port Alice Saturday, my TC colleagues have just gathered around to give me a warm send off and I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that we’re actually leaving after six-and-a-half months of prep.

I’m so grateful and overwhelmed by all the support that’s brought me to this point: From every person who donated or came out to fundraisers, to every local business that donated prizes, to my fellow Tour de Rock riders, junior riders and trainers who gave me the motivation to improve. 
I can’t wait for this journey to start.

Starting Sunday, you can read daily articles, as well as blog posts, photo galleries and info on upcoming events at

Times Colonist reporter Katie DeRosa is one of the media riders for this year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, a 13-day bike ride from Port Alice to Victoria. To donate to her fundraising campaign in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and Camp Goodtimes, go to

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