The day of the ride is magical. Riders line up in the dark to find that just right starting spot. There is the playing of the national anthem. A fly over by jets from Sheppard Air Force Base. Then with a loud boom a cannon signals the start of the race. As the riders go by you will see all types. At the front the serious riders with their game faces on.
Bikes of all shapes and sizes go by. Some bike will have 2 or even 3 riders. Parents can be seen riding proudly beside their children. You will see some riders in costume and outfits fit for a costume party. Out on the course are the volunteers are waiting for the riders. Rest stops are decorated to be fun and inviting.
As the day progresses, friendships are formed. While a group of riders may stay together the whole time, you may have many riding partners during the day. At the finish line riders are given medals to signify their accomplishment. All around you see a sense of achievement and pride on the faces of the participants. Some people maybe in pain at the end of the ride, but they are happy at same time. No matter the distance completed, every rider is a winner.
The Hotter’N Hell is not just a bike ride it is a community event. The ride brings an estimated 8 million dollars of revenue to the city each year. Today the HHH committee today sponsors many community events throughout the year in the community. They support many charities and are still the largest supporter of the MSU cycling team.
People from Wichita Falls take pride in the ride. All year round riders can be seen out training for the big day, both in the cold of winter and the high heat of the summer.
So what started as idea to celebrate 100 years of the city has over the years grown into a major event that continues to grow each and every year, adding to the identity of the city and giving local citizens a source of pride in their community.
Video Clip: Public service message of radio statin KNIN92.9 of Wichita Falls, TX.
Following Clip: Produced and posted by the Times Record News. Aug 30, 2015