BY MELANIE WADE –
Cyclists will hit the county on Saturday, September 30th as the Rotary Club of Mena and Polk County kicks off the 6th annual Wheel A’ Mena – Tour to the Top bicycle challenge. The tour will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 30th with three tours to choose from, a 30-mile, 50-mile, and a 70-mile tour, all of which will begin and end at Janssen Park in Mena.
To register, visit BikeReg.com prior to the tour for a $50 pre-registration fee, which includes a t-shirt. Late registrations will be accepted on Friday, September 29th, from 5 -7 p.m. and Saturday, September 30th, from 6:30 – 7:30 a.m., for a $65 fee.
Snacks will be provided before the tour and at rest stops throughout the course.
In recent years, there have been more than seventy cyclists from more than five states enter the tour that is quite unique due to it’s long trek over Arkansas’ second highest peak, Rich Mountain. The ride has become very popular with avid cyclists for the challenge of the steep hills and the scenic views that the Ouachita Mountains provide through the Talimena Scenic Drive.
Last year’s event brought in 65 participants from five states, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and Missouri. Rotarian Sonya Maye said that many of the cyclists bring their families in for the weekend where they spend money on lodging, eating, and shopping, bringing important revenue into the community. “We enjoy hearing so many wonderful comments about what all our community has to offer and how beautiful the area is,” Maye said. The annual event is the Rotary’s signature fundraiser and also their largest of the year. Maye explained that all the money raised stays within the county for programs such as their Dictionary Drive where all county 3rd graders are given their own dictionary.
For more information, go to www.wheelamena.org or contact one of the Rotary members.