Despite the frigid temperatures and misty rain, about 200 “tough turkeys” showed up for the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club’s 31st annual Turkey Roll Bicycle Rally on Saturday morning.
While the bicycling tradition might have seen fewer participants this year due to wintry conditions, organizers said they lucked out for about 10 years with decent weather.
“Mother Nature finally got even,” Joe Holland, founder of the cycling event, said Saturday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, starting point of the rally.
Holland said he has worked past events in shorts and a T-shirt, and when you depend on the weather to be good, sometimes it doesn’t always cooperate.
“We were on track to have our biggest [event] yet, and the weather did make for a disappointing turnout,” he said. “Although we didn’t think for a second to cancel the event, as the roll must go on.”
Since its start, the Turkey Roll has always been held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Nothing, Holland said, was going to change that.
“I was out putting signs up past midnight in the Valley View area,” he said of marking the 8- to 68-mile routes riders could take.
Organizers said the cold front didn’t stop the hardy riders.
“We had about 25 to 30 register this morning — they knew what they were getting into when they started,” Holland said. “It was amazing to see new registrants.”
An estimated 40 to 50 riders went past Wishbone Pass, along the west side of the Ray Roberts Lake dam — about halfway into the rally’s longest routes.
As cyclists came trickling in one by one, the support for continuing the day’s race was overwhelmingly positive.
Ten-year veteran cyclist Christopher Taylor described the morning’s roll as “perfect.”
“Anybody can ride when it’s 70 degrees and sunny,” he said. “It takes a real rider to ride in this.”
Taylor, who came from Carrollton to participate, said he and his friend had already paid their registration fees and it was just a matter of which distance they were going to ride upon arrival Saturday morning. It was his first time to participate.
“We ended up riding about 16 miles,” he said. “This is better than riding in the heat to me because you can always dress warm, but you can only take off so much.”
The event also accomplished raising an estimated $8,000 to $9,000 for the Breakfast Kiwanis’ charitable efforts.
“We will have to be more frugal in our giving than previously,” Holland said. “All money raised, though, goes straight to the middle school through university-level organizations we support as a club here in the community.”
He said the Kiwanis’ membership dues pay for the club’s internal costs.
“The people’s money goes straight to the community, and we are thankful to have so much sponsorship support to help us out,” Holland said.
The money raised wasn’t the day’s only accomplishment.
Ashlie Privett of Euless said she accomplished more on a cold, drizzly day than she usually would have staying at home in her pajamas. She biked with her parents, Karen and Sonny Privett, who came from Gainesville.
“We are glad we got up and did it. Now we can go about our day and no matter what we do, we know we accomplished riding 8 miles this morning,” she said.
Her mother agreed.
“We definitely look forward to participating again next year,” Karen Privett said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.