With the COVID epidemic raging in the spring and summer of 2020 it was not certain that the Moore County YMCA's Texas Tumbleweed 100 bicycle race/ride, which has taken place every year for the last seven years, would make it for an eighth. But with COVID seemingly in retreat in Moore County now, the event, with some modifications, is going to happen Saturday. As of Wednesday, there were 94 riders signed up and ready to ride across the Panhandle, according to Y Executive Director Shane Nelson. "The purpose of the ride is to help raise money for our annual campaign to help support the YMCA's mission and the programs we do." Last year, the Y raised over $10,000 from entry fees and sponsorships.
According to Susan Riseling, Y board member and coordinator of Saturday's event, there will be four routes this year: 12 miles, 35, miles, 67.2 miles, and 100 miles, the same as last year. She said riders would find rest stops set up by volunteers every 10 miles along the routes, and safety patrols would be out to make sure everyone made it home safe and sound. In a concession to the COVID pandemic, Riseling said, "We are asking, we are not requiring, people to be safe by wearing masks before they ride and after they ride. We are not going to make them wear masks while they ride."
Riseling says new this year will be a "food truck festival" and corn hole in the park. A message therapist will also be on hand to deal with sore muscles.
This year's event takes place in conjunction with the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce's "Ears and Beers Festival" and the Downtown Dumas Association's sidewalk sale downtown. Officials hope the events will be mutually supportive and draw bigger crowds for both.
Riseling says people can still register up to the day of the ride. Entry fees are $40 for the 12 and 35 mile routes and $50 for the 67.2 and 100 mile routes. Children 16 and under ride for free if accompanied by a registered adult. Those interested can register online or by calling the Y beforehand, or at McDade Park beginning at 5:30 am on the day of the event.
The entry fee includes the cost of a spaghetti supper that the Dumas Rotary Club will prepare and serve participants Friday evening in McDade Park. Proceeds go to support the club's campaign to eradicate polio.
On Saturday, riders have to wear a helmet, and the have to be lined up by the start/finish arch before the 8:00 am start time. "I would love it if people would line up on Maddox to cheer them on as they leave town," added Riseling.
The cash prizes of the High Plains Double Century Challenge from last year fell victim to the COVID crisis. Last year riders who participated in both the 100-mile Dumas ride and the 100-mile Plainview Hale on Wheels ride competed for cash prizes. But the Plainview event was cancelled. Participants Saturday will receive a medal, a t-shirt, and a "swag bag" containing donated items from some of the event sponsors.