One hundred nine bicyclists rode through the Texas Panhandle Saturday to raise money to support the programs of the Moore County YMCA. It was the Texas Tumbleweed 100. The riders covered distances from 12 miles to 100 miles. When the riders began at 8:00 am, it looked like they might have a problem with the weather. It had been pouring rain at 6 am, and though the rain had slowed to a light sprinkle by the time the riders were ready to depart, the clouds looked rough. Nevertheless, after an invocation by former Dumas Mayor Pat Sims, a flag ceremony by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, and some violin music by Ana Belle Barker, the riders were off. By the time they started trickling in later in the morning, the sky had cleared off and the riders, who had come from as far away as Pennsylvania, were enjoying near perfect September weather.
Selene Schumacher of Dalhart was on her second Texas Tumbleweed 100 Saturday, when she happened to overtake and pass a friend, Julie Harris of Amarillo. The two women are avid bicyclists. "Selene and I met in Tulia at the first of this year, and we were just riding together and sharing stories back and forth," said Harris. "We said, 'We will have to do Dumas.' (Today) she just passed me by, and she said, 'Hey Julie.' We reconnected. We had a good time."
"It was fun," added Schumacher.
Having a good time seemed to be the general attitude of the riders Saturday. David Andrews was face-down receiving a massage from Tally Hicks, an Amarillo massage therapist, who had come to Dumas to bring relief to the riders. This was his first ride in the Texas Tumbleweed 100. He had done the 12 mile route. He said he had a good experience.
Even one woman who took a tumble near Four Way, skinning her arm and damaging her bicycle, was smiling as she was brought in to the event headquarters at McDade Park.
Subhir Kshirsagar of Amarillo and his fiancee, Priya, of Lubbock, ride every weekend. Saturday was their first ride in Dumas. "We enjoyed it," they both said, as they were presented medals for finishing. Everyone who finished received a medal.
Those who completed the 100 mile route and also completed the Hale on Wheels 100 mile ride the week before, were eligible for cash prizes. It is known as the High Plains Double Century Challenge, and, according to Susan Riseling, Director of the Texas Tumbleweed 100, winners were determined by the fastest combined times from the two events. Kim Patrick won the Women's Division with Billie Cole in second and Rhoda Dorsey third. In the Men's Division, Kemp Carter took the top spot, while Don Whitten came in second and James Epp and Ron Smith tied for third.
Riseling said she was pleased with the way the event turned out, though attendance was down somewhat from last year. She said a ride taking place in Tucumcari the same day had drawn some riders away from Dumas. Judy Flemeng, the Lubbock woman who celebrated her 54th birthday last year by winning the Women's Division of the High Plains Double Century Challenge, missed Dumas this year. She was riding in Tucumcari, defending her title there.
Riseling said it is still too early to know how much money the event raised this year. Last year, after expenses, the event raised over $10,000 to support Y programs.