SHERIDAN — What do you get when you combine sunshine, grassy fields, hops and lots of people wearing shorts?
If you answered Octoberfest, you’re close. But we’re talking bicycle shorts, and rock hops on a mountain bike, and trails that wind through grassy fields glowing gold in the Wyoming sunshine.
We’re talking Biketoberfest.
It’s what happens when you add bicycles to that beloved German holiday that celebrates autumn with a plethora of suspenders and beer.
Hosted by the Sheridan Community Land Trust, Biketoberfest is in its third year and gaining popularity. It will be held from 3-9 p.m. Saturday at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.
Participants can run, bike or walk a 5K, which follows the perimeter of the Hidden Bridge Golf Club, or participate in a 15K trail run or 25K mountain bike race, which both highlight SCLT’s Soldier Ridge Trail. Race entry includes a free race T-shirt and unlimited pizza and drinks post-race. The public is invited to an after party from 5-9 p.m. with live music by the Bald Tires and Banana Seats (aka The Craft Brothers), a kids’ bike rodeo, and pizza, beer and drinks for sale. There is no cover charge.
“The Craft Brothers will ham it up a bit. You might see some Spandex,” SCLT Communications and Development Associate Claire Hobbs said.
Biketoberfest serves as a fundraiser for SCLT, helping to create new trails and other recreation opportunities in Sheridan County. Profits from last year’s event helped build the new Soldier Ridge Trail, a 4-mile mountain bike trail located 1.1 miles west of the Fifth Street and Mydland Road intersection.
Plus, combining bicycles with pizza, beer, live music and all sorts of family fun — including a hay bale obstacle course and other events for the kiddos — is a “spass” way to spend an afternoon, as in “fahrrader sind spass!” (Translation: bicycles are fun!)
“It’s a fun event to benefit the Sheridan Community Land Trust with lots of like-minded people,” Hobbs said. “It’s always nice to be able to get out and spend a day or an hour and just get outside.”
Last year’s Biketoberfest raised approximately $3,000, which directly benefitted the Soldier Ridge Trail, SCLT Executive Director Colin Betzler said.
Soldier Ridge Trail was funded 80/20 with a State Recreational Trails Program grant for less than $40,000. It opened in spring 2014 and approximately 500 different hikers, runners, bikers and horseback riders have visited so far, Betzler said. A new trail registry has been installed to track usage, and Betzler encourages area residents to get out and enjoy four miles of moderately challenging trail with an excellent view of the Bighorn Mountains.
The land trust currently has three specific recreation projects moving forward. These include new trail proposals and trail routing and planning documents, Betzler said. The proposed recreation areas are within the parameters of the county’s non-motorized recreation plan/map that is included in the 2008 comprehensive plan. Further details will be released as plans and negotiations with landowners and recreation groups are finalized.
“We see trails as a long-term goal for the area,” Betzler said. “Any time we can pick up any mileage, fitting it into the county’s overall non-motorized transportation plan or local recreation plans, we’re interested.”
This weekend, though, it’s all about the bikes and the beer.
“Biketoberfest is a great opportunity for the community to come together for a fun event and show support for local recreation projects that have a positive impact on the health of our community,” Betzler said.
For more information or to register for Biketoberfest, visit www.biketoberfest.weebly.com or call 673-4702.