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La Vernia gears up to greet cyclists

La Vernia gears up to greet cyclists
FILE PHOTO Participants in last year’s La Vernia Wild West HammerFest line up for the start of the event in the La Vernia City Park. This year’s event is Saturday, Sept. 17.

The benefitting organization may be new, but the event itself is not.

La Vernia is “gearing up” for an event that, since its inaugural appearance, has become a fixture on the city’s calendar. Watch for pumping pedals and spinning wheels as the La Vernia Wild West HammerFest brings hundreds of cyclists to converge on the La Vernia City Park this Saturday, Sept. 17.

Check the map so you know where to watch for riders this Saturday. Routes will be designated with signs and area law-enforcement officers will be available to ensure safety along the routes.

Founded by the La Vernia Historical Association as a fund-raiser for the association’s historical preservation efforts and its plans for a veterans memorial, the event quickly outgrew the handling capabilities of the local group.

This year’s event will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Lone Star Chapter after merging with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Aptalis CF Cycle For Life, adopting the HammerFest name and remaining in La Vernia.

Organizers, including Kristine Spirt with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, expect about 500 participants, and “We’re praying for no rain that day, even though we really need the rain!” said Spirt, with a laugh.

HammerFest volunteers from past events will be in the park Saturday, welcoming participants from across Texas, and further afield. Volunteers will include historical association members Walter and Nancy Scull and Elaine Stephens.

The event, along with the rides for experienced participants, also includes a family ride. Starting at 10 a.m., enjoy festivities in the park for the whole family food, music by San Antonio band “The Harleys,” children’s activities, and vendor booths.

Sponsors include H-E-B, Sonic restaurants, the Wilson County News, Bike World, and the Warriors on Wheels Cycling Club, and more. EZ’s Brick Oven & Grill, a San Antonio restaurant chain, will provide lunch for the riders; plates will also be available for purchase. EZ’s will also man rest stop No. 4, Spirt said.

Head out to the rest stops to visit with other familiar folks, including the La Vernia City Council, representatives from Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, the Wood Valley 4-H Club, and the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church.

The church provides a much-anticipated rest stop, Spirt said. Volunteers usually get into the groove with a theme at the church-sponsored stop, with past efforts include a medieval theme featuring fair maidens, suits of armor, and more.

“é it’s very popular with the riders!” Spirt said.

Other rest or water-stop volunteers include La Vernia H-E-B employees, youth from the La Vernia United Methodist Church, and the Wilson County Republican Women’s Club.

Plan now to head out to the La Vernia City Park Saturday to have fun and cheer on the riders.

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