Volunteers gear up for Tour de Nebraska cyclists
GERING — Volunteers are starting to line up for an original event that will take place this summer.
Tour de Nebraska is a five-day biking tour that will run through the valley June 19-23. Riders begin in Sidney, travel to Kimball, Gering, Scottsbluff, Bridgeport and finish in Sidney. The tour highlights tourism in the areas cyclists ride through.
“The organizers found a special beauty in rural Nebraska and they want people to get to see what they normally don’t see if they never get off the highway,” said Brenda Leisy, Scotts Bluff County tourism director.
Volunteers have begun signing up for committees on Thursday to help participants in every way possible.
Local resident Cathy Eastman has participated in Tour de Nebraska and provided vital information to volunteers about what to expect and what makes cyclists happy.
Cyclists are expected to roll in late morning to early afternoon. They often ride at their own pace.
“Some people really do like to stop and look at things,” Eastman said.
Karla Niedan-Streeks, director of the Gering Visitors and Convention Bureau, said one important thing to remember when planning events is the time of the event.
“It’s June. They’ve been on their bikes all day and they are thinking shade, air conditioning and beverages,” Niedan-Streeks said. “We tend to think all outdoor activities.”
Eastman suggested little things, such as people who know the area well, welcome maps that explain where events, restaurants and other tourist attractions are. She said you also want to give people items with Scottsbluff and Gering all over it.
“It’s something tangible they have so when they look at it later, they have good memories,” Eastman said. “You want to give them something that makes them want to come back.”
Leisy and Niedan-Streeks are still looking for some groups that are willing to man each rural rest stop to provide drinks and snacks.
“It’s a great way for a group to get out and raise some money,” Niedan-Streeks said.
Committees will now get together to work on their areas separately and will meet together monthly until the tour arrives.
Anyone who was not able to attend the meeting but still would like to help, may contact Brenda Leisy at 308-633-1808 or Karla Neidan-Streeks at 308-436-6886. The next meeting will be held in March at a time to be announced later.