The Saratoga Sun -

Bike to School

Saratoga boosts athletic, academic programs with pedal power

 

Over 300 bike riders participating in the Tour de Wyoming cross-country bike ride called Saratoga home for two nights last week, not only taking in plenty of rest, relaxation and Valley hospitality, but also raising money for Saratoga Middle-High School (SMHS).

Greg Bartlett of Saratoga Middle/High School and one of the organizers of the event said he estimated about $7,000 was raised, though officials at the school are still waiting for a final accounting of all expenses. The proceeds will benefit the activities fund at SMHS, which supports athletic activities as well as academic activities like speech and debate and band, as well as other student activities like FFA.

For organizers at the school, opening the school's doors was an opportunity to raise funds in the face of expected cuts to school funding, which broadly impacted funding for schools in the district.

The tour also presented an opportunity to bring people into the town and introduce them to Valley hospitality. For riders, their time in Saratoga offered a chance to relax after a hard day pedaling in near 90-degree heat, and the opportunity to get to know the Valley.

"People were nice and cordial," Bartlett said. "They were grateful to be here and they spent a lot of money in the community at restaurants and shops."

The 20th annual Tour De Wyoming began in Cheyenne. For the tour, 350 riders who were selected to ride in the event by lottery made their way from the start point to Wheatland. The next day, riders rode Sybille Canyon and Morton Pass until arriving in Rock River.

Wednesday, riders followed the old Lincoln Highway though Medicine Bow and Hanna before arriving in Saratoga. After two nights in Saratoga, riders departed for Laramie where they stayed the night before heading back to the start point in Cheyenne Friday.

The school, Bartlett said, offered riders a place to camp out, opened restrooms and locker rooms so riders could freshen up and provided four meals to the riders-two breakfasts and two dinners. Other services and amenities, such as portable toilets and a band were arranged by tour organizers.

Riders in the tour set up tents on the football field at SMHS, and were permitted to use the shower facilities in the school for bathing after pedaling miles in heat that neared 90 degrees.

Riders also took the opportunity to throw a party with live music performed by The Absolutes, a Fort Collins-based band. Many riders even took the chance to visit local restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy a bit of the town before hitting the road the next day for an outing to the Battle Pass Summit.

The event at the school was coordinated by Bartlett and Rex Hohnholt, Saratoga High School's athletic director after Tour organizers contacted Hohnholt early in the year.

Hohnholt did "an excellent job" of coordinating the event, Bartlett said, adding local resident Trevor Ingraham and wife, Hillery Ingleby, owners of Hugus & Co. in Saratoga, were brought in to assist with meal planning and catering.

SMHS students even got in on the action, helping out at the event.

The event, Bartlett said, was an opportunity for students and staff to work together, saying students had the opportunity to understand what kind of funding it takes to pay for activities, and to work to help provide those funds.

Bartlett said it might be a few days before the school gets a final accounting, but he expected the amount raised for the activities fund to be around $7,000 once all the bills are paid.

"We know what income was," he said. "We're waiting for final expenses to come in."

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