Since 1988, more than 200 bicyclists each year have taken four or five days out of their schedules to enjoy a ride together across various parts of Nebraska. This year, Tour de Nebraska will be coming our way, and some Custer County organizations are making sure we are ready.
This yearâ€™s tour began Wednesday, June 19, and will conclude Sunday, June 23, with planned stops in Westerville, Broken Bow and Callaway.
The 306-mile ride began in Doniphan early Wednesday morning, with cyclists riding that day to Loup City for an overnight stop. Thursdayâ€™s route takes the riders from Loup City to Callaway, with a rest stop in Westerville. That stop is being hosted by the Broken Bow Public Schools Foundation.
John Smith is chair of the BBPS Foundation committee that has been planning the rest stop, which will include a tent for shade - donated by Trotters, Inc., picnic tables - loaned by Joel and Jaimee Bailey, water refills, port-a-potties, and sweets and fruits for the riders to purchase.
The rest stop will be at the top of the hill in Westerville, just north of the stop sign. The tour is expected to arrive in Westerville some time between 9 and 11 a.m.
The BBPS Foundation will also hand out maps to the riders of all restaurants and eating establishments in Broken Bow. All 13 of those establishments have agreed to provide a free drink with the purchase of a meal for all riders that day.
The cyclists plan to stop in Broken Bow for lunch and a short break before proceeding to Callaway, where they will spend the night.
The Callaway Chamber of Commerce is planning a big welcome for the riders Thursday afternoon, and a potluck dinner Thursday evening at the Community Center from 5-7 p.m.
The Chamber will also have cars or golf carts available to transport riders around town. There will also be a 20-minute historical focus driving tour available for any riders interested in participating.
The riders will depart Callaway early Thursday morning in route to Holdrege, where they will stay Friday night, then to Blue Hill for their Saturday night layover before returning back to Doniphan Sunday.
Most of the bicyclists will camp out on their overnight stays, but host homes will be provided in Callaway for those riders who require a bed.
Co-host for the event, Susan Rodenburg of Lincoln, says this yearâ€™s tour will feature 210 bicyclists from all across Nebraska, as well as 17 different states and Canada. Another 20-25 crew members will accompany the tour.
Please be sure and warmly welcome the Tour de Nebraska today as they travel through Custer County. We all also say a big thank you to the Broken Bow Public Schools Foundation and Callaway Chamber of Commerce for taking on the huge task of of not only providing rest and food stops, but also showing these more than 200 people what a great place to live this area is!