Benton, Bryant youth to join forces for benefit bike race

While it's common for competitions to take place pitting area school groups against each other — particularly for athletic events — youth organizations from three communities have decided to join together for a common cause.
Members of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Councils from the cities of Benton, Bryant and Haskell are joining forces for a bike race that will benefit The Care Center in Benton.
The race is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14.
Laura Stilwell, coordinator of the Benton youth group, said she's proud of the young people for being willing to work together on a project that will benefit those in need.
"The Salt Bowl and other things like that are fun," she said, "but it's great to see these kids set aside their rivalries to help those in need."
Details of the race will be announced closer to the event, but current plans call for the route to start at Bryant High School, continue through Bauxite, go up the Benton Parkway to Alcoa Road and into the Benton High School Sports Complex, then back down Alcoa to conclude at Bryant High School.
"They'll be making a big loop," Stilwell said.
Trevor Villines, a member of the Benton MYAC, is serving as coordinator of the bike project.
Stilwell predicted that the route will take an hour and a half.
"The race course is 14.8 miles and they'll be riding at speeds of 10-15 mph," she noted.
"All the police departments are cooperating with us on this," she said.
"We don't know how many people will sign up to ride, but we hope with school just starting and other bike clubs in the area that we'll have good participation," Stilwell said.
"It will be a good Saturday morning ride," she added.
She noted that T-shirts commemorating the project will be available.
"We thought The Care Center was a good service project," Stilwell said.
The Care Center, an outreach ministry of Benton's First Baptist Church, is overseen by Brenda Burton. The center, located on West South Street, provides a weekly meal to anyone who requests it along with an inspirational presentation. Special events are scheduled during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season.
Burton has been involved with the center's program since its inception 28 years ago. She has enlisted the aid of numerous Saline County businesses to help provide food and services for the program.
Stilwell may be contacted at 501-590-2875 to provide additional information about the bike project.

* Published Tuesday in The Saline Courier.