Nearly 1,000 bicyclists gathered at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Saturday morning for the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club’s 30th annual Turkey Roll.
The bicycle rally started decades ago with an idea from former club president Joe Holland.
“I just thought this would be a good way to get the community together to do something good,” Holland said. “All the money raised from today’s event goes directly back into the community for our seven children’s groups. We do not use any money for administrative costs that we raise for the race; it goes from the community back to the community, 100 percent.”
Children are the Kiwanis Club’s top priority, according to the organization’s mission statement.
The Denton group’s seven youth “K-clubs” all have one goal: getting students involved in community projects and helping develop possible future community leaders. The club has programs at the University of North Texas, Denton’s three main public high schools, Immaculate Conception Catholic School, and Liberty Christian School’s middle and high school.
“We need more members, especially more youth and college members,” Holland said. “It’s very important to get the youth actively involved; otherwise, who will continue the tradition of the Turkey Roll five to 10 years from now?”
The bicycle rally raised $14,000 last year, and the club projects it’ll break the bank again, this time with an estimated $20,000 to $25,000.
“This is kind of the unofficial end to the bicycling season, so it’s a good time to want to get out there and have one last go before the weather gets too bad,” said Holland, who owns Denton Bicycle Center.
Participants came from Carrollton, Tyler and beyond, just to join friends and family for the roll.
“This is my first time to go on this ride, but my sister convinced me,” said Grace Manglicmot. “She partakes in many of the different cycling events, and I just really enjoy bicycling.”
Over the years, Holland has seen the event grow from just a couple hundred bicyclists to 1,000.
“This is all made possible by great support and our terrific sponsors,” he said.
Jack Becker, the club’s registrar and a 25-year member, said on average, about 65 percent of the participants are women and 35 percent male.
There are five different routes to choose from, starting at 8 miles for children and families, to 68 miles for serious cyclists.
“At least 30 percent take the longest route, with 56 percent of those registered pedaling 29 miles or more,” Becker said.
Safety is a huge priority throughout the event. Six trucks, courtesy of Bill Utter Ford, were equipped with drivers and tools to monitor the routes, should anyone need a quick air fill or inner tube replacement, or maybe just a bottle of water before they hit a rest stop.
While some cyclists might get the occasional bump or bruise, it doesn’t deter their willpower to go ride.
Maria Hughes, who cut her ride short after a fall, was just thankful she was OK.
“When you ride, things can happen and it’s the chance you take,” Hughes said after landing on her bike, possibly bruising her side. “While I have never fallen during a ride before, this is not going to stop me from going again. I absolutely love to ride.”
The Denton Breakfast Kiwanis meet at 6:30 a.m. every Wednesday at El Chapparal Grille, 324 E. McKinney St. Members said the public is invited to come meet them and get a feel for the club.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.