Village population will triple this weekend
Brady hosting BRAN riders as they begin 440-mile journey.
Roughly 800 visitors will converge on Brady this weekend turning the tiny little town into a bustling place as Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) participants prepare to embark on a week-long adventure across north-central Nebraska.
Brady was randomly selected as the starting place for the 31st bicycle journey which begins early Sunday morning.
Cyclists of all ages come from across Nebraska and other states to ride between 50 and 70 miles each day, taking them from Brady to Waterloo in a week.
Brady village officials and volunteers have been preparing for the large group of guests for several months.
“We’ve been working on this since last fall,” said village clerk Pam Diehl. “I think we’ve finally got it pulled together.”
Most BRAN riders and staff will arrive in town midday Saturday to set up camp at the school where tents are expected to fill the football field.
Coordinating showers, food and other services for twice as many people as live in Brady has been a little bit of a challenge, Diehl said, but several people volunteered as members of the local BRAN committee to make it work.
“We’ve had good cooperation,” Diehl said, “and that’s what it takes to pull off something like this.”
The village and the school district are co-hosts of the event with support from the local funeral committee, the school’s booster club, the Brady Volunteer Fire Department and students on the Eagle volleyball and football teams.
Committee members will greet BRAN riders, staff and family members as they enter town with football players helping unload gear and directing parking.
Concessions will be available throughout the day Saturday at the school provided by the booster club with assistance from the volleyball team.
Diehl said the funeral committee was the likely choice when she was looking for a group to feed a large number of people a supper meal Saturday.
“They are used to serving big meals all the time,” Diehl said. “I knew there was no way we were going to get this done unless I could get a group to take over organizing the food part of it.”
After registration and rider meetings Saturday evening, BRAN participants will turn in for the night, looking forward to an old-fashioned breakfast served by the fire department bright and early before riders take off on their bikes at dawn.
“This is an opportunity for us to showcase our little town and give these people from all over a taste of our hospitality,” Diehl said.
BRAN began in 1980 as a community service project of the Omaha Northwest Rotary Club with help from the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club.
BRAN as an entity is set up as a charitable non-profit corporation. Revenue provides more than $27,000 in scholarships annually to Nebraska high school graduates.
Host communities receive one $500 scholarship each to be given to a local graduating senior. Another $500 scholarship is given to the community voted as best host by participants.
Once riders leave Brady, they will follow Banner Road to Gothenburg, then travel north to Callaway where they will spend the night.
Day two takes cyclists from Callaway to Burwell. Then they make overnight stops in Bassett, O’Neill, Battle Creek, Oakland and finally end up in Waterloo.