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12 Hours of Bike Racing = Community Philanthropy


12 Hours of Mesa Verde is more than an endurance race; it's also an economic driver, community builder and fund-raiser that benefits Montezuma County kids. Sponsored by Express Employment Professionals and Downs, McDonough, Cowan, and Foley, LLC

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12 Hours of Mesa Verde is more than an endurance race for elite mountain bikers. It's also an economic driver, community builder, and fundraiser that benefits Montezuma County kids. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Express Employment Professionals and the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde endurance mountain bike race draws nearly 2,500 racers and their support teams to Montezuma County every Mother's Day weekend, and nearly half are first-time visitors. The event is a big boost to the region's summer economy, but it's also a major community fundraiser that has generated nearly $800,000 in donations to local nonprofits in its 15-year history.

It's a really good not only sporting outdoor activity for the community, but maybe more importantly to me is it's an effort that gives back to the community in really big ways every year.

The endurance race, held at the Phil's World mountain biking trail system across from the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, challenges racers to see how many times they can ride the 16-mile course in 12 hours. Entrants can choose to ride solo or form teams to share laps. Entry fees cover the cost of race operations, but local business sponsors generate the revenues that the bike race then awards to area nonprofits with kid-driven missions. Nearly 40 businesses contributed just under $70,000 in sponsorship donations in 2021. And for one nonprofit, The Pinon Project, the $16,000 grant they received from the bike race means that many kids will get to experience trips and activities that they wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to try.

That funding allows us to provide these really unique opportunities that kids wouldn't have otherwise. And so that's what makes 12 Hours of Mesa Verde funding unique and imperative because, otherwise, it's really difficult to ask a funder, hey, will you pay for a trip to Arches? But for many of our kids, they've never been out of Cortez. And so those youth that are served get to go on these really fun adventures, and it's all thanks to funders, like 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, that say, here's this money, and we know you're going to do great things with it. And we do.

Allen said, "Every dollar of sponsorship funding is returned to the community's nonprofits. And because of that commitment, the race inspires support from the entire community and from all walks of life."

We got lots of people that show up with their mountain bike and have cowboy boots on and they change their boots into bike shoes and get out and get going. We have teams of local electricians, local plumbers, local contractors racing in this race. It's, I think, one of the cool things about the sport is it's an everyman kind of thing.

The 16th annual endurance race will be held on Saturday, May 7th, starting at the Fairgrounds. Registration opens online on January 14th. If you'd like to know more, visit Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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