Determined cyclists soon will tackle the mountains of West Virginia as they pedal from the Jefferson County West Virginia University Extension Office in Kearneysville to the WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp near Weston �€all in the name of 4-H.


Beginning early Thursday, June 15, 4-H members, leaders and friends will start their 250-mile trek for the third annual �€?Outspoken for W.Va. 4-H�€? fundraising bike ride. The venture, which raised $20,000 in the first year alone, also promotes the perks of 4-H to West Virginia’s youths as the cyclists ride for donations.


WVU Extension agents and 4-H volunteers along the route are supporting the cyclists by organizing donations, food, lodging and well-wishers. As the riders make their way through the route’s 11 counties, they will be encouraged by 4-H volunteers and supporters waving motivational signs.


At designated stops, the cyclists will be greeted by local 4-H’ers and WVU Extension agents.


Some of the extended stops will include question-and-answer sessions with local 4-H members.


A medical crew, a bike technician, a snack and drink provider, and a crew van accompany the riders at all times.


The schedule is:


June 15 �€Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties
June 16 �€Hampshire and Hardy counties
June 17 �€Grant, Pendleton and Randolph counties
June 18 �€Barbour, Upshur and Lewis counties


The four-day ride will end at WVU Jackson’s Mill in time for the first day of the weeklong Older 4-H Members’Conference.


Jeff Yokum, U.S. Secret Service officer at the White House and former West Virginia 4-H’er, created �€?Outspoken for W.Va. 4-H�€? at the Older 4-H Members’Conference at Jackson’s Mill in 2003.


This year’s riders include current 4-H’ers Jason Burnside of Bridgeport and Ross Williams of Romney. Joining them are seven 4-H alumni: James Grantham of Middleway; Michele Hale of Martinsburg; Shay McNeil of Summersville; Chris Smith of Conover , N.C. ; Kay Toben of Ithaca , Mich. ; Cindy Woodbury of West Friendship, Md. ; and Yokum of Washington, D.C.


The crew members are Marilyn Dague of Moundsville; Alex Kidwell of Thurmont, Md.; Chad Shade of Charles Town; Barb Teter of Elkins; Carl Townsend of Wheeling ; and Rhonda Walls of Athens.


4-H enthusiasts, alumni and members sponsor the cyclists. The bike ride offers sponsors a chance to make a tax-deductible donation to 4-H, a WVU Extension Service organization that touches the lives of 56,000 West Virginia youths each year.

4-H provides educational programs through clubs, individual projects, camps, after-school programs and special interest groups. All tax-deductible contributions will go directly to the program area chosen by the donors.


To become outspoken for 4-H, contact James Grantham, the 2006 �€?Outspoken for W.Va. 4-H�€? ride coordinator, via e-mail ( outspokenfor4h@gmail.com ) or contact a county WVU Extension office.


More information concerning the route is available on the Web site (http://www.ext.wvu.edu/4-h/outspoken/route.htm). Donation forms are available at local WVU Extension offices and on the Web (http://www.ext.wvu.edu/4-h/outspoken/outspoken_pledge_form.pdf).


Completed donation forms may be mailed to: Ann Berry, 507 Knapp Hall, P.O. Box 6031 , Morgantown WV 26506 .