Bison Bicycle Classic to Benefit Habitat for Humanity

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008, marks the eighth anniversary of the Bison Bicycle Tour, which will benefit local Habitat for Humanity efforts. Changes to the event have prompted the tour to be renamed the Bison Bicycle Classic and Cavalier 5K Road Race. The event is open to riders of all ages and abilities.

"The Bison Bicycle Tour began as a fundraiser for the OBU Division of Music scholarship fund," said Thresa Swadley, co-coordinator of the Classic and OBU's secretary to the dean in the College of Fine Arts. "After seven years of doing this, Dr. Jim Vernon, the founder of the Bison Bicycle Tour, and I wanted to expand our vision for the event and make it more of a community event."

The Bison Bicycle Classic will combine and replace the Bison Bicycle Tour, the Sacred Heart Century and the Cavalier 5K Road Race to offer the state bicycling/running community a larger and better option. The Classic will coordinate with Shawnee Convention and Visitor's Bureau, as well as more than 29 sponsors and local churches, to provide rest stops and access to facilities during the event.

This year the entry fees for the Classic will benefit the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity. Ultimately, Vernon and Swadley hope to raise enough funds to build an OBU Division of Music Habitat House.

"Not only are we raising money for the Shawnee-area Habitat for Humanity organization, we are attempting to raise awareness of the need for an active lifestyle in people, both on campus, in the Shawnee community, and around the state," said Vernon, who serves as associate professor of music at OBU. "Habitat is a great cause, and it's wonderful to see hundreds of riders come out for such an event."

Entry fee for the Bison Bicycle Classic is $25.00; OBU students can sign up for $15.00. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in OBU's Recreation and Wellness Center (RAWC). Riders will meet in front of the RAWC at 9 a.m. for the start of the event. There will be three tour routes of 10 miles, 25 miles, and 50 miles, and a 50-mile timed, non-sanctioned race.