Bicyclists pedal for urban youth

Thursday, May 8, 2003

Some 25 cyclists from across the nation pedaled through Marked Tree on Wednesday, April 30 in The 2003 Great Bike Challenge. The ride began in Branson, Mo. and extended to Memphis and back from April 26 -- May 3. This fifth annual ride will take them over 500 miles through the differing terrain of Missouri and Arkansas.

The Great Bike Challenge is a fully supported bicycling event that serves as a premiere annual fundraiser for Kids Across America -- Christian sports camp for inner city young people and their leaders. The average cyclist fundraising goal is $2,500. Kids Across America, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, hosted over 5,500 kids and over 700 adult leaders in 2002. The youth, ages 10 -- 19, come from 28 states and represent over 115 cities like Springfield, Mo., and Memphis being one of the top cities.

The Great Bike Challenge team traveled through Marked Tree around 10:30 a.m. on their way to Jonesboro. They were greeted at the City Pavilion by Mayor Lawrence Ashlock, Jr.

The Great Bike Challenge began in 1998, specifically for benefiting the leadership camp and year round follow up programs of Kids Across America and therefore, themed Bringing the Leadership Full Cycle! Since then, over $870,000 has been raised for hundreds of urban kids and teens. Biking legend, Tom Richey, and nearly 60 cyclists representing 19 states have participated.

"I had a great time and it is a blessing for me to play a part in helping the Lord change the lives of our young people," says Darcy, a cyclist from Michigan.

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