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600 bicyclists pedaling into town June 4

Opportunity to showcase community to BRAN riders

An economic development boost is how Anne Anderson describes the town’s chance to host 600 bicyclists and support crew on June 4.

The town is one of six overnight stops for the Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska June 2-8.

“We’re excited to show off our community,” said Anderson, director of the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce. “Doing that in less than 24 hours is really exciting.”

And there are incentives.

Anderson said research shows that host towns can collect up to $20,000 in what riders and others spend on food, entertainment, lodging and more.

Each community that hosts bicyclists overnight also receives a $500 scholarship for a student to attend a Nebraska college or university.

And the “favorite community” along the route, as voted on by riders at the end of the ride, receives an additional $500 scholarship.

As a result, Chamber officials are calling on the community to welcome and help in other ways when bicyclists start showing up the morning of June 4.

With the exception of a few riders who will opt for commercial lodging, most will pitch tents on the practice field west of Gothenburg High School.

“We encourage the community to welcome them,” Anderson said.

Showers will be available at the school and at least two venues for food in addition to local restaurants, she said.

The Interact Club, a local youth organization, will sell barbecue as a fund raiser at the American Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church plans to offer chicken and noodles and assorted salads.

The Lions Club will serve breakfast at the school before riders take off for Kearney the morning of June 5.

Youth and other organizations will also be selling healthy snacks at the school and Anderson said she hopes to get massage therapy services to riders.

In addition, she said shuttles will be available to take BRAN participants where they want to go around town.

One location may be Ehmen Park where participants in a Tractor Relay Across Nebraska will make a stop that afternoon.

Anderson noted that the Pony Express Station in the park and the Gothenburg Historical Museum across the street will be open for visitors.

A movie at the Sun Theatre will be shown for riders and the public, theatre officials said.

Anderson said the Chamber needs volunteers to help unload equipment trucks on Tuesday.

Ideas for anything else the community could offer are welcome and can be shared by calling or emailing the Chamber at 537-3505 or www.

gothenburgdelivers.com.

This will be BRAN’s 33rd year. The ride was started by a Rotarian who envisioned a cross-country bicycle ride with proceeds to help others.

The ride begins in Kimball this year with stops in Chappell, Paxton, Gothenburg, Kearney, Aurora and Brainard. It ends at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland.

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