The largest band fundraiser of the year is upon Duncan, which is bound to bring in bike riders from not only all over Oklahoma, but also states including Texas and Kansas.
The annual Dehydrator bike ride always takes place on the last Saturday of July, which falls on the 27th this year. Bikers will leave the starting line, located at the Simmons Center, at 7 a.m. sharp.
Brian Hibbard, who is this year’s chairman for the Dehydrator and participates in Band Boosters, said the event is coming up quickly and the final touches are falling in place.
“We’re getting into crunch time the closer we get to it,” Hibbard said.
The race, which originally started at the Spring Harvest Classic before evolving into the Dehydrator in 1990, has since grown into the Duncan band program’s largest fundraiser, typically bringing about 500-700 bikers through the city.
“It is more of a recreational bike ride,” he said. “It’s not necessarily competitive, although a lot of people use The Dehydrator as training for the ‘Hotter than Hell 100’ in Wichita Falls. We have five different categories from like a 10-mile recreational ride all the way up to an 80-mile ride and a lot of people use it for their own best personal timing. There’s not an award, there’s not a first place kind of thing.”
Five different categories are offered for the ride, including 10-mile, 25-mile, 50-mile, 62-mile and 80-mile long routes. Hibbard said this brings the perfect variety to the annual ride, allowing even those who are new to the biking scene get in on the action. The Dehydrator is described to have “low-rolling hills” in the course too, so nothing too extreme is included.
“It’s at your own pace,” he said. “We get ages 8 to 80 that sign up for this and participate. It’s not just the super hardcore riders that get out there, it’s open to anyone at any skill level. As long as you can ride a bike, you can participate.”
The ride serves as more than just a fun summer event; it not only gives money to bolster the Duncan band program, but also it provides charity to Duncan’s Toy Shop just in time for the Christmas holiday.
“All the proceeds (from the ride and sponsorships) go back to the band boosters to help support the middle school and high school band programs in Duncan,” Hibbard said. “There’s a lot of stuff that just isn’t in the budget — color guard uniforms or paying for the busses or hotels when they have to go on overnight trips.
“We do end up taking some of the proceeds (and) we do give back by donating several new bikes to the Toy Shop every year,” Hibbard said.
The event is just a few weeks away and volunteers are still needed, according to Hibbard.
“Right now we’re pushing to get as many people as we can signed up,” he said. “We’ve got everything from pre-planning to cooking all the food, setting up and manning all the hydration stands, clean up afterwords, a little bit of registration stuff — we need people for all kinds of stuff. You don’t have to have a student in the band program, you don’t even have to have a kid going to Duncan schools — we’ll take anyone. We have to bake a lot of cookies … We’re going to end up probably baking 60-70 dozen cookies that we’ll need help with.”
For more information on the ride or to register, visit www.thedehydrator.org.