The sixth annual Ballard County Wheels and Wings bike ride will be held May 28, beginning at 8 a.m. at Ballard County Preschool. In a continuing effort to get more beginners and families interested in bicycling, organizers have planned another free 5-mile family ride this year, in addition to the 15-, 30- and 60-mile paid routes. If riders want a shirt, or the early registration discount on paid rides, that deadline is May 8.
New this year, the Ballard Bottoms Tourism Council is partnering with Wheels and Wings for the first-ever Wing Cook-Off in LaCenter Park. Everyone is welcome to enter, from church teams to individual back-yard chefs. Entry fee is $25, and the wings will be provided. A five-judge panel will award a trophies and $100 to the winner, $50 for second place and $25 for third.
If cookers want to cook additional wings or other food to sell, they are welcome to do so. The competition starts at 9, and judging will be at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend and purchase wings and other foods offered by cookers.
Award-winning barbecue cook David Smith of Smokey D’s Restaurant in LaCenter is heading up the cook-off. For an entry form, rules or more information, please contact him at 270-210-4298 or 270-665-8050.
BBTC organizers say there will be live music starting at 10 a.m., and a number of vendors and local displays will be set up in the park area. For information about playing music, setting up a display or vending items, please contact BBTC’s Jerry Pace at 270-559-1487 or email email@example.com.
The “Wheels and Wings” name is a nod to the county’s waterfowl and wildlife heritage. A duck’s head is incorporated in the logo, and organizers are making barbecued wings a signature item for the post-ride fuel-up. For an entry brochure, please see the bottom of this article. For more information , please contact Ballard County Community Education Director Julie Thomas at 270-665-8400, ext. 2011, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“At other rides, you’ll see different groups at different stops. It boosts their awareness, and really helps support the event. We are always looking for other non-profit groups to host one of the five rest stops around the county. They can use it for awareness of their projects, too,” Thomas said.
“Because of cyclists’ nutritional needs, especially on the longer rides, the committee will help these groups get ready. Rest stop groups are asked to send at least one person the day before the ride to help us prepare the snacks we’ll all serve,” Thomas said. The committee will provide all necessary food (sandwich makings, fruit, hydration); rest stop volunteers will come to Ballard Memorial High School to help with prep after lunch on Friday, May 27, and then will be able to take the food and drinks back with them to serve the next day.
If your non-profit group is interested in staffing a rest stop, please contact Thomas at number or email above. Stops are located at Lovelaceville United Methodist Church, Providence Baptist Church, the Wickliffe city park and Barlow First Baptist Church and typically last about two hours.
The ride’s purpose has been to offer additional fitness/recreation opportunities to county residents. The committee made its first donation back to the community in the form of bicycling safety equipment for all the youngsters who attended the bike events at Kids’ Day at the Ballard County Fair. Children were given helmets if they did not have one, or their choice of lights or other items if they already had a helmet.
For prospective riders:
The 5-mile family route is free, and will go out of the preschool, down Hazelwood Road and back. Families or beginners simply need to show up on ride day and fill out a registration form.
The other routes cover nearly all of the Ballard County, including areas from LaCenter to Wickliffe to Oscar to Monkey’s Eyebrow. Cost for this year’s ride is $20 for early registration (through May 8), or $25 on the day of the ride. Tech-fabric shirts with the ride logo also are offered for $10 and will be available for presale only (a very small number will be on hand the day of the ride). Children 12 and under may ride free with a registered adult, and there are discounts for families.
For more information, or to volunteer, search Facebook for Ballard County Wheels and Wings, or contact Thomas at 270-665-8400, ext. 2011, or email email@example.com.