WAKEFIELD – With the 37th year of the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) event past the halfway point, there was three overnight stays left entering Thursday.
Bicyclists were up early and departed Wayne north on Highway 15 with three options ranging from 28.4, 46.3, 84.6 or the 91.2-mile century mark up to Vermillion, South Dakota.
Leslie Bebee and Nicki Decker were co-chairs for the Wakefield BRAN Committee. Bebee said that everyone was excited when the BRAN Committee asked if Wakefield would like to host again.
“We all said we did it 15 years ago lets do it again,” said Bebee. “We won for host community 15 years ago so we had two scholarships to give. So, it was well worth doing.
BRAN was originally organized through the Omaha Northwest Rotary Club in 1980. Each overnight community is provided a $500 scholarship to award a single recipient. Following the tour, the riders will select the “Best Host Community” to receive an additional $500 scholarship.
Bikers entered Wakefield then south on Highway 35 before turning back west on 8th street towards Wakefield Community School. Following their welcome the tents were set up and they rested.
Bebee was a part of her daughters’ support staff when she rode in BRAN.
“I drove the van for the six from Wakefield that rode on it,” Bebee added. “They had a real windy day, they had a real rainy day. They were pretty shot when they got in, but it’s great to go to these little towns.”
Teammates provided lunch at Wakefield Community School, the library and museum were open and there was free swimming for the BRAN riders. There was also live entertainment that the Legion men sponsored, three churches provided supper and an omelet feed was provided by Michaels Foods Friday morning at 5 a.m. in the high school gymnasium.
“We got 15 cookers, burners that we’ll be cooking in,” Bebee mentioned. “Then fresh fruit and muffins and we’ll serve till the last biker takes off.”
Bike Ride Across Nebraska riders will overnight in Winnebago on Friday and end their stay in Tekamah on Saturday, June 10.
There are three routes for the bikers to use on their way to Winnebago. The main route is 42.9 miles, with a Sioux City, Iowa option (58.5 miles) or North Sioux City, South Dakota (70.1 miles).