Despite some unexpected weather conditions, nearly 400 riders took part in the 13th Annual Red River Bike Rally Saturday at the Texoma Event Center.
Theresa Hutchinson was one of the event organizers for the Sherman Kiwanis Club, which organized the event. She was impressed with the turnout for the rally and the attitude of participants.
“We have been very pleased with the turnout — the riders have been very positive,” Hutchinson said.
The weather was a slight concern for organizers, but Hutchinson said the cool breeze that came with the early morning showers helped give riders a positive attitude during the rally.
“The weather is perfect for August,” she said. “We were a little worried about the rain but it has been very well received.”
Hutchinson said many of the close to 400 riders — some from as far away as Arkansas — use this rally as a good practice run for the annual “Hotter’N Hell Hundred” rally in Wichita Falls later this month.
Chris Jennings and Matt Looney were among the Grayson County participants making the run Saturday. Both men said they enjoy bike riding as a way to stay active.
Looney, who lives in Denison, has been riding for 12 years and said he really enjoys this particular trail. Looney’s advice for riders was to hit the trail every day.
“The first 20 miles are the toughest,” he said. “Then from there you go a little bit further.”
Jennings, who lives in Sherman, has a little more experience riding, explaining he’s been doing it off and on for around 40 years.
“I enjoy doing things that aren’t fun when I do them but give me a sense of accomplishment afterwards,” Jennings said with a smile.
The two men expressed part of their enjoyment is getting out on the trails and meeting other riders. There were four trails altogether for riders to tackle. The shortest was the 27 mile trail. Then it was a 51 mile trail, an 80 mile trail and a 100 mile trail for the determined riders.
The Red River Bike Rally is also partially made possible with the help of 26 ham radio volunteers who help coordinate the riders along the way. Wade Graves is a member of the Grayson County Amateur Radio Operators. His organization provides radio equipment to help keep the riders on track.
“We provide real-time communication to help manage the bike rally as well as additional support the Kiwanians’ needs,” Graves said.
There are radio operators stationed at each of the 10 rest stops along the route. They count the riders passing through as well as keep track of any supply shortages to ensure fresh supplies are available to the riders.
Graves explained the group also has several of what he described as “rovers” who go along the trails looking for riders with bikes that might have broken down. Those rovers then send out what he called the repair wagon to get the riders back on the trail.
“Our main job is communication but we also help out wherever we are needed,” Graves said.
Their volunteers also keep an eye out for riders who might have gotten lost. They will send someone to get them back on the trail.
There were 26 volunteers from the radio operators as well as over 20 volunteers with the Kiwanis Club assisting riders on the various trails.
The Sherman Kiwanis Club is a non-profit organization who helps raise money for youth activities, as well as scholarships for high school students.