Bike-A-Thon to benefit Imagination Library of Saline County

The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Councils in Saline County are joining forces to raise money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Jake Garner, news and media director for the effort, and Trevor Villines, director of the Bike-A-Thon, say “riders from all over are invited to participate. It is a family-friendly event.”

Riders will start and end at Benton’s Tyndall Park on Saturday, Sept. 6. If it rains, the race will be moved to Sept. 20

This year’s Bike-A-Thon will have three route options – a 50-mile route, a 10-mile route and a square loop for children around Tyndall Park.

“The bike ride takes roads throughout Saline County and shows off its natural beauty.” Villines said. “The bike ride has periodic rest stops and sag vehicles that will follow the riders.”

Registration is $25 for the 50-mile Half-Century and 10-mile Intermediate rides, while the children’s ride is $10. Forms can be found on the group’s website, or at Benton City Hall and Bryant City Hall.

“Sadly, we cannot accept payment through the Internet and riders will need to turn in their form to Benton City Hall, Bryant City Hall, or to P.O. Box 607 Benton, AR 72018.” Garner said. “Also, onsite registration will be available on the day of the event. The entry fee includes a T-shirt, but are only guaranteed for early registrations. Onsite registrations are not guaranteed a t-shirt as they will be in limited supply and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Last year, the race raised $4,500 for the Benton Care Center, which provides a hot meal every Thursday night for those with low or no income, food from their food pantry and clothing to those in need.

This year race proceeds will go to the Imagination Library of Saline County.

“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a not-for-profit organization that sends a book to children from birth to age five on a monthly basis.” Garner said. “All a parent or guardian must do is say that they will read the books to the child to receive the books. The books are age-appropriate for each kid. The Saline County program has approximately 750 kids enrolled in the program, but sadly has about 150 kids on their waiting list. We hope to raise enough funds to get the kids off the waiting list and get more kids in Saline County involved in the program.”

Allison Farmer, a rider from last year, said this about the bike race, “It was really fun and a great biking adventure! More people should do it next year!”

Information about the Bike-A-Thon can be found on the Facebook page, “The Saline County MYAC’s Bikeathon” or on Twitter at @SalineBikeRace.