Riders, guests enjoy CANDAK events
Locals and bicycle riders from throughout the United States and Canada gathered together in Ellery Park the evening of August 8 to enjoy burgers, a free concert and a chance to socialize.
The gathering resulted from teamwork and planning by Rugby city officials and the organizers of the CANDAK Bicycle Tour, formerly known as CANDISC. The tour’s scheduled overnight stop coincided with Rugby’s Music in the Park, held Wednesdays each summer, and sponsored by the Rugby Lions Club.
Lila Harstad of the Rugby Lions Club supervised the event set-up in the warm, hazy afternoon hours before the event as riders trickled in, staking out campsites in the park. “We’ve teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce, so when the CANDAK people come here, they have a meal at night and a meal in the morning. The Chamber’s doing the morning breakfast, and we’re doing the evening meal,” she said.
The Rugby Lions Club also sponsored a car show, and invited art vendors to exhibit their work for a show called, “Arts in the Park.”
“We have three hamburger fries a year, and this is the last one,” Harstad said. “We also have Arts in the Park and a classic car show. The classic car show is also a Lions event. Each car has a number, and there’s a table with cups with numbers on them. The cup that has the most money in it gets the People’s Choice Award. The money goes to the Lions Eye Program and charities.”
Burgers and all the trimmings were available to purchase at the event, along with free ice cream for dessert. The Rock Princesses, two sisters from Bismarck, entertained the crowd with adult contemporary music.
The Rugby Parks Department, the Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Rugby’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau provided space for the CANDAK tour riders to camp overnight, before they began the next leg of their tour to Harvey.
“They got in this morning,” Chamber Executive Director Darylanna Durkee said as she walked through a campground cropping up in Ellery Park and the Rugby Recreation Complex. “Today was their shortest day, so they’ve been averaging around 70 to 80 miles a day, and today, they did 47. They got to us before noon, so before it got really hot out. So, they’ve been moving around town quite a bit, to eat and visit.”
Riders strolled through downtown Rugby, or rode in shuttle vehicles provided by CANDAK sponsor Ryan Chevrolet, Minot, to tour local points of interest.
“They (the riders) were excited to see the community,” CANDAK Director Alex Schmaltz told the Tribune. “I just got back from shuttling them all over town. They wanted to go out and see the Geographical Center; they wanted to see the museum; they wanted to eat. So, they’ve been touring the town. They’re all over right now.”
The CANDISC Tour ended last year, after 25 years as a North Dakota tradition for locals and bicycle riders from many parts of the United States and Canada. Its acronym stood for Cycling Around North Dakota in Sakakawea Country, and centered in the Garrison area.
After the retirement of CANDISC founder Dick Meserle, Schmaltz said event sponsors Val’s Cyclery teamed up with two other Minot businesses and high school wrestling clubs from Minot and Velva to keep the tour going.
The teams formed a new tour, and renamed it CANDAK.
Schmaltz said the new tour’s route won’t necessarily center around one particular part of the state in the future.
“We started out in Velva this year, and we’ll end in Velva,” Schmaltz noted. “Next year, we’re looking to go more to the Northeast section (of the state). We might start in Bottineau, and that’s what our preliminary object is, and then we’ll go all the way east and spill over into Minnesota as well. So, we’re looking at the Northeast.”
The tour will feature routes in all parts of North Dakota eventually, moving in a clockwise direction, according to Schmaltz. “Because after talking to these people, (they’ve) been giving us more phenomenal ideas of how not only to keep the traditions of CANDISC, but also to make it more of our own.”
Almost 100 riders participated in this year’s tour, down from 200 in last year’s CANDISC run. Schmaltz attributed this to advertising the tour late, and a perception that there would be no more bicycle tours in North Dakota after CANDISC ended.
“But many (former CANDISC riders) have contacted us and said, ‘I wish we could be there; we’ve already made plans, but we’ll be there next year.’ So, I think more advertising could get that CANDAK name out there, and that will be the most important. Then, our numbers will go back up to the 250 and 350 we had in the past,” Schmaltz indicated.
Schmaltz described the Rugby leg of the first CANDAK run as a success, and expressed gratitude for help provided by sponsors Dakotah Bank, Val’s Cyclery and Ryan Chevrolet.
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