Culver Kiwanis Club receives grant for new cyclo-cross event this fall

The Culver Kiwanis Club hopes to add another community event to the area's roster this fall, and they've received a Marshall County Tourism grant to help the process along.

The club is planning a cyclo-cross event for Sunday, Oct. 19 (that's the Sunday of this year's second annual Culver Fall Fest), as the first manifestation of an annual fund-raiser for its local scholarships program.

For the uninitiated, cyclo-cross bicycle racing, usually held in the fall or winter, involves participants riding multiple laps around a short course. The ride, however, isn't merely a paved circle, but mixes in grass, dirt, rising and falling elevations (often steep ones), and obstacles forcing riders to dismount, carry, and circumnavigate the challenge before hopping back on their bicycles.

The sport, well established in Europe and growing in popularity in the U.S., allows riders to change bicycles as needed during the race, and may involve a "pit crew" of friends or family members holding spare bikes.

The Oct. 19 event is slated to take place on presently undeveloped land owned by Culver Academmies and located on Queen Road, across the road from the former Academies airport. Club volunteers have been discussing the options of either constructing the track themselves, or bringing in an outside organization to do so.

According to Kiwanis president Larry Brockey, the club lost sponsorship for its annual bass fishing tournament two years ago, forcing it to cancel the event. Since then, members have been looking for something fresh to replace the lost revenue.

"This fits the bill perfectly as it is a new, up and coming sport that has a big following," says Brockey, who adds that club members Bill Furry and Bob Volkert initially suggested the idea.

The club received word of a $2,000 grant last month from the Marshall County Tourism Grant Committee, thanks to the work of Kiwanians Kathy Clark and Trent Bennett, who prepared and submitted the grant proposal.