'Outspoken for 4-H' bike ride celebrates 10th anniversary of raising funds for youth across the state
With the help of 28 cyclists from West Virginia and surrounding states, youth are able to attend 4-H because of funds raised by the “Outspoken for 4-H” bike ride.
Riders raise funds for the cause through individuals and organizations that sponsor them during the trek. The money raised is used to award 4-H camp scholarships to young people across the state.
This year’s bike ride, starting in the northern panhandle, boasts the largest number of riders and largest one-year increase of riders since the first ride 10 years ago.
“Many Outspoken for 4-H participants return because they have enjoyed the people, the challenge and the chance to help 4-H members,” ride coordinator, James Grantham, says.
On June 13, riders will begin their journey at the World’s Largest Teapot in Chester, and travel through 11 counties before arriving at their destination—WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp in Weston.
At the end of the ride, more than 300 members and participants of 4-H will excitedly greet the cyclists’ arrival at the Mill, which opens the 4-H Older Members’ Conference.
Beginning at the northern tip of the state, the 4-day ride will take the following course into north-central West Virginia:
- Thursday, June 13 –Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall Counties
Starting from the World’s Largest Teapot in Chester, cyclists will stop for lunch at Camp Russell in Oglebay Park and eventually arrive at the Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville.
The cyclists will travel by vehicle from Moundsville to New Martinsville.
- Friday, June 14 –Wetzel and Monongalia Counties
Departing from New Martinsville, the riders will continue their trek shortly after stopping for breakfast at the Wetzel County 4-H Camp. Continuing along W.V. 7, they will make their way onto the Caperton Trail and arrive at Knapp Hall in Morgantown.
- Saturday, June 15 –Preston, Taylor and Marion Counties
Leaving from Knapp Hall in Morgantown, the cyclists will travel down Decker’s Creek Trail and on to Arthurdale before eventually arriving at the Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton. Continuing on, they will pull into the Marion County 4-H Camp in Farmington where they will spend the night.
- Sunday, June 16 –Harrison and Lewis Counties
After departure from Farmington, the team of cyclists will make their way down U.S. 19, with a lunch break at the Harrison County Extension Office, arriving at Jackson’s Mill in the afternoon.
The journey will cover more than 250 miles of rolling West Virginia hills and valleys, giving riders and volunteers a unique perspective of the state’s mountainous landscape.
Ron James, a first-time rider in the event says that the ride is a challenge that he’s excited to try. James, a 4-H parent and volunteer, saw this event as a great way to help 4-H youth and an opportunity to do something with his family—his wife and son are also participating.
“Our children were raised in 4-H, and I saw the positive impact and opportunities that 4-H has provided,” he said.
James, a native of Hancock County, will be joining his 21-year old son Alec, who is also riding, as well as his wife Susan, who is a 4-H leader and part of the support crew for the cyclists.
Riders will pass through many towns throughout the northern part of the state accompanied by medical personnel, a bike mechanic and other volunteers to ensure they have everything needed to complete the trip.
Roxanne Bumgardner, a petroleum and natural gas engineering student at West Virginia University, was inspired by last year’s ride, and has returned this year for her second journey.
“I saved money to buy a bike for this year’s ride, trained harder and got all of the needed gear I didn’t have last year,” Bumgardner said excitedly.
She has been a 4-H member for a decade and is now a member of the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club.
“Participating in the ‘Outspoken for 4-H’ ride means so much to me as a 4-H member,” she said. “The ride is so emotional, and it supports a great cause.”
During the final leg of the ride, she will travel with her fellow cyclists through Harrison County—where she grew up.
“4-H has impacted my life in such a positive way, and from a young age, that it inspired me to be involved in the ride again this year.”
Her interest in cycling began with her participation in “Outspoken for 4-H” last year, and she has been hooked ever since, training and conditioning for this year’s journey.
“I have received my share of 4-H scholarships, and I appreciate the opportunity to help other young people share in the 4-H experience,” she said.
CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension
Office: 304-293-8735, Cell: 304-376-1829, email@example.com
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