Cow Pasture Tails

The cows have come home…

After eight years on the south and north 40, we’re bringing them into the barn and calling it a day. Saying goodbye to the Cowbell Challenge is an odd combination of happy and sad. It was eight years of heart, soul, muscle and energy put together because we love the sport and we believe in giving back. And now it’s time to look for new adventures and challenges.

We had some nice numbers to put up over the years… racers from 32 states and three foreign countries, the first endurance race to offer equal payout, 3 years on the USAC national MTB calendar, $12,000 in payouts… and the most important one…$40,000 donated to charities as diverse as the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Catawba Lands Conservancy, youth sports in Davidson and the US National Whitewater Center, the Family Center and the Tarheel Trailblazers, Duke Cancer Treatment Center and IMBA, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Dirt Divas… it’s a heady list.

Our reasons for retiring the Cowbell Challenge are mostly economic. The current state of the economy has made it hard to get the cash sponsors, something we share with many other non-profit organizations. The unfortunate actions of a very tiny group of people in the local mountain biking community who seemed to have a very personal and negative agenda added to the difficulties and made it impossible to put together the caliber of event that we have become known for. You can visit the Cowbell Challenge blog to find out more.

Every kind of mountain biker, from world champions to 40+ beginners made their way to Charlotte over the years, to race for the bell and be a part of a great experience. We are proud and happy to call you friends as well as competitors, and hope that you will remember your races at the Cowbell with a smile. We’ve gotten notes from many who chose Cowbell for their first race, and countless emails thanking us for organizing an event that made them glad to be a part of mountain biking. We’re including many photos from the races over the years, and invite you to post your photos and memories on the blog as well.

Some folks called us crazy for spending so much unpaid time putting together a mountain bike race every year. Could be true, but we did it because for us it was fun and rewarding, not because it would add to our retirement funds, but because we could feel good about serving the community and improving the sport. But nothing like Cowbell Challenge ever happens without a lot of good volunteers. In eight years, we met the best– Anna, Al, Alissa, Brian, Christian, Cindy, The Lewis Family, Erin, Jason, the Janes Family, the Garde family, and Jim and Ginger—whose tireless efforts and great spirit helped make it all worth it. All the Chrises, Rich, Mark, Cricket, Perry, Arleigh, Doc, Patty, Layla, Cathi, Patricia, Noel, Mel, Tracey, the teens from Davidson Youth Council, and many more—we want to thank you for your contributions to the Cowbell experience. And we were especially glad to be able to work with the really fine folks in the Town of Davidson. Fisher Farm Park is a truly wonderful place to have a race, and to ride when you’re not racing!

We laugh when we think about it now—all the crazy rushing around after the race in putting together prize packages and writing payout checks. Prizes and payout would never have happened without about a gazillion sponsors: Walter Hannah and Lomax Tile & Marble, Bicycle Sport, Carolina Realty Advisors, Blue Ridge Outdoors, Hendrick Lexus, Pasta & Provisions, Earthfare, Shannon Ridge Winery, Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Charlotte Sports Photos/Cyclepix, Today’s Hot Water, Adjusting the World Chiropractic, Brawley’s Beverage, Me & My Shadow, Dillon Natural Health, Visit Lake Norman, Toast Café, Carolina Bicycle Company, Homewood Suites of Davidson, Infinity Graphics, Davidson Chocolate Company, Cheech’s Creative Concepts, Picholine Café, The Cycle Path, Days Inn of Cornelius, Cool Breeze Cyclery, Summit Coffee, The Egg in Davidson, Butler & Quinn, MTBPath, Specialized, Kenda Tires, Hammer Nutrition,, 55Nine, Shimano, Terrapin Beer, Clif Bar, Kona, Maxxis Tires,, Elete Electrolyte Add-in, Kinetic Koffee, Honey Stinger, Chamois Butt’r, BikeKyle, PrincetonTec, Mountain Khaki, and SixSixOne. Not to forget the ones back in the early days–SouthPark Cycles, Charlotte Sports Cycling, and the Charlotte Jaycees.

While Cowbell won’t be on your 2010 schedule, we hope you’ll add some races put on by many of the best promoters we know—Dirt Sweat & Gears, Cohutta 100, 6 Hours of Warrior Creek, 24 Hours of Burn, Shenandoah 100, Offroad Assault on Mt Mitchell, Fools Gold, Wilderness 101, and Mohican 100.

It’s been challenging, crazy, hilarious, aggravating, rewarding, hot, rainy (once), exciting, dusty, and most of all fun for eight years. We’ll see you on the trails and at the races… the other races… with cowbells at the ready.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Regarding Boyd, Stetler and Wise – They’re all C@#?!s.

Comment by In the know

This entire thing is just sad. I wonder if those local “organizers” who remain in Charlotte will pitch in and cover the money lost because Cowbell is going away? It seems only right – they take aim at local charities and, it appears won. Congrats – now cover the donations made by Cowbell.

Comment by Local Rider & Donor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: