5th Annual Pedal the Petrified

September 20, 2017 by Anonymous

This year’s Pedal the Petrified, a tour bicycle ride through the Petrified Forest National Park, on Saturday, September 16, raised over $40,000 for Northland Pioneer College student scholarships, more than tripling the amount raised since 2014.

2017 Pedal the Petrified riders
Four happy, but tired cyclists standing in front of the Painted Desert, the beautiful backdrop for the annual Pedal the Petrified tour event.  From left: Jon Graff, Chuck Beightol, Cassi Knight and Steve Buck.

Produced by NPC Friends and Family, the non-profit alliance that supports NPC students and programs, in partnership with Petrified Forest National Park and Northland Pioneer College, the non-competitive, supported bike tour enjoyed the support of numerous sponsors and volunteers. Summit Healthcare and its High Desert Health Clinic was a major corporate sponsor, the historic La Posada Hotel also provided a principle sponsorship.

Over 50 volunteers, including community members, college faculty, staff, administrators, students, and board members were instrumental in planning the ride and working at both the pre-ride check-in event and the ride day itself. Executive Director of NPC Friends and Family, Betsyann Wilson praised their efforts.

“We cannot thank our volunteers enough. It takes great dedication to get out of bed in the pre-dawn hours, on a Saturday, and work all day for a cause,” she stated. The ride participants shared Wilson's appreciation for the volunteers through their unanimously positive feedback surveys. Ride Director Lisa Jayne noted, “So many people asked me at the ride where we ever found so many wonderful, friendly people to volunteer!”

This year's event illustrates huge growth in the popularity of the ride. Started in 2013 as part of the college's 40th Anniversary celebration, the first Pedal the Petrified hosted 45 riders. The past two rides have filled to capacity with 250 riders, ranging in age from 13 to 77, with an average age of 55. Of the two tour options, two-thirds rode the Metric Century, a 100 km/62-mile route. While 217 riders hailed from Arizona, the majority of them from locations across the Phoenix metro area and Tucson, riders came from as far away as California, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Kansas and New York!

This year's event was very special to Wilson and Jayne for one particular reason. Debra Fisher, a former NPC employee who founded the first Pedal the Petrified in 2013, and moved to the Midwest in 2014, was one of the first to register for this year's ride and traveled from her home in Indiana. “I am so grateful to Deb for conceiving of this ride, and so very proud of her for all she helped us accomplish,” notes Wilson. Adds Jayne, “Deb has truly changed the lives of an untold number of NPC students who've received ride-generated scholarships.”

In addition to corporate sponsorships from the Quality Inn and Lexington Inn of Holbrook, Bank of the West, OK RV Park, Landis Cyclery of Scottsdale and Absolute Bikes of Flagstaff, Wilson and Jayne lauded the partnership of the Petrified Forest National Park. “This is an annual event for us now,” Jayne noted, adding that riders are already asking about registration for next year's Pedal the Petrified, which will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Wilson said registration for this year's participants will be opening in late January 2018, followed by open registration.

“The most important part of every Pedal the Petrified, other than everyone having a fun and safe trip, was the scholarships raised,” Wilson stated. “I tell everyone our NPC students are the finest and bravest you will ever meet. They have a powerful desire to improve their lives through education. They are not constrained by lack of talent or ability, but financial barriers are a tremendous challenge. Events like Pedal the Petrified help us to help them in ways that are truly life-changing.”

To learn more about NPC Friends and Family, please visit www.npcfriendsfamily.org.