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Welcome, HammerFest!

Welcome, HammerFest!

Cyclists from Central Texas, as well as those from across the state, will shift into high gear to participate in the inaugural Arthritis Foundation La Vernia Wild West HammerFest Bicycle Tour this Saturday, April 6. The event, hosted in partnership with the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce, will start and end at La Vernia High School, 225 Bluebonnet Road, beginning at 8 a.m.

Keeping cyclists safe during HammerFest is the first priority. Law enforcement agencies and emergency services from three counties Wilson, Guadalupe and Bexar coordinate safety for the hundreds of riders who will set out from the high school. HammerFest benefits the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce and the Arthritis Foundation. This is the sixth year for the event, attracting cyclists from across Texas.

The Arthritis Foundation Wild West HammerFest Tour connects cyclists of all skill levels, along with volunteers and supporters, as they pedal toward building support and raising awareness about overcoming the challenges of arthritis. More than 50 million adult Americans (one in five) are affected by arthritis, as well as 300,000 children and 4 million Texans.

HammerFest promises to be one of the most exciting and scenic bike tours in Central Texas this spring. (See map, page 7A.) The event is a fully supported ride with five rest stops with refreshments, ride marshals, and sag vehicles. Routes are 34, 53, and 65 miles and feature a family-fun celebration and a kids’ ride at the high school.

“During the event, we will also salute our 2013 Heroes for the Arthritis Foundation La Vernia Wild West HammerFest Tour,” said Pat Bodet, the foundation’s community development officer. “Our honorees include local preschooler Scott Edwards, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis at age 3, and Dr. Tom Harvey, superintendent of the La Vernia Independent School District. Their participation helps people recognize that arthritis is a life-changing disease and can affect anyone at any age.”

Harvey, who has battled rheumatoid arthritis for years, sees his participation in the event as a way to increase visibility for people living with arthritis. “I’m actually very humbled at being chosen as the adult honoree of the Arthritis Foundation LaVernia HammerFest Bicycle Tour because it helps build awareness and puts a face and a name to the condition,” he said. “The bike tour is a great way to spread the message in our community of how important maintaining physical activity can be for those with arthritis,” he added.

The Central Texas community is fortunate to have so many residents committed to promoting education about the disease.

Registration is $25 plus a $25 minimum fundraising pledge. Pre-registered riders will receive a free T-shirt and free lunch.

Generous sponsors make HammerFest happen. This year’s sponsors include the main “Hoedown” sponsor, Amgen, plus five “Rattlesnake”-level sponsors La Vernia Pool & Spas, Custom Pools by Reynolds, South Texas RV SuperStore, John’s Construction, and the La Vernia News. Rest stops, called “waterin’ holes’ are made possible and manned by the La Vernia City Council and staff, Beck Realty Group LLC, First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, the Wilson County Republican Women, and the La Vernia Lions Club. Riders can enjoy smiles, water, pickles, refreshments and big ’howdys’ from the volunteers.

Dogs can be excited to see the riders; residents are asked by law-enforcement and emergency services personnel to please keep their friendly pets in their yards. Also, drivers are asked to give these pedaling visitors generous room for safety on the roads.

For more information about HammerFest, contact Pat Bodet at pbodet@arthritis.org, 210-380-8171, or visit www.hammerfestarthritis.org.

To register visit www.HammerfestArthritis.org. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/GreaterLaVerniaChamberofCommerc

To volunteer, call 830-779-2636.

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