WEST JEFFERSON — The 31st annual Blue Ridge Brutal bike ride will be organized and held by the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce. In the past, the event has been organized by and served as a fundraiser for the Ashe Civic Center. The Chamber plans to apply all funds raised to the Ashe Advantage Project, its scholarship program for ACHS seniors.
“Because of the demands that it takes on a volunteer organization, they could not see carrying it forward; because of the economic impact that is has on the county we saw the need as the chamber to keep it going,” Honeycutt said.
The ride is scheduled for Aug. 22 and will offer options of 56 miles, 72 miles and 100 mile rides, which all include scenic stretches on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Last year’s ride had nearly 400 participants, with 90 percent being visitors to the Ashe County area.
According to Kitty Honeycutt, executive director at the Chamber of Commerce, the economic impact of last year’s ride on the local economy was approximately $82,000 spent by visiting riders in area restaurants and businesses.
“What motivates us to do it is it matches so perfectly our mission of tourism and helping our businesses be successful,” Honeycutt said.
The newly established Brutal committee held its first meeting and 20 people attended.
With a strong membership, the chamber is eager to have the help of many volunteers prior to and on the day of the Brutal.
They are working closely with the Ashe County Arts Council and the Civic Center during this transition.
“We hope it’s a seamless transition for all the people who are participating, because the Arts Council and Civic Center folks could not be more helpful or more encouraging in having this happen. They are excited that it is going to carry on,” Honeycutt said.
Anyone interested in serving on the Brutal committee or volunteering for the ride may call the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce at (336) 846-9550.
Additional information about the upcoming race is available at www.blueridgebrutal.org.