COLUMBIA — Max Duncan, 6, of Columbia had never ridden a bike 16 miles. When asked what he expected from the ride, he said, “A ton of pedaling. Pedal. Pedal. Pedal.”
The fourth annual Boone Dawdle will take Max and his family from Flat Branch Park to Les Bourgeois Winery, near Rocheport, where they planned to enjoy a catered dinner and outdoor movie overlooking the Missouri River.
Max was with his moms, Amy Duncan and Alysia Beaudoin, who joined an estimated 425 people on Saturday afternoon at the Boone Dawdle, a fundraiser for the True/False Film Fest that takes participants on the 16-mile bike ride.
“I’ve been doing the Boone Dawdle ever since it started,” said Danny Gammon, 30, of Columbia.
Many of the event’s participants wore shirts from previous years as they inflated their bike tires and decorated their handlebars with silver tinsel before the ride began.
Jeremy Brown, True/False managing director, estimated a raffle at the event would raise $4,000 for the 2014 festival. The Boone Dawdle event has grown steadily in popularity, and Brown said this year was the earliest the event sold out. Brown and his team of six event organizers chose a bike ride fundraiser because of the natural beauty the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail and the Katy Trail offer.
“We can take the treasure of MKT and Katy trails and throw a rolling party down the trail and culminate with a dinner and movie under the stars," said Josh Oxenhandler, who ran the event's special operations.
Sara Semelka, 29, of Oak Park, Ill., and her husband, Brad Griffith, 29, drove 400 miles to attend the event. Both are graduates of MU and have continued to participate every year, despite their move to Illinois two years ago.
“We come back for this and True/False every year because we love it. We really like the community,” Semelka said.
Live musicians, hula-hoop lessons, contra dance lessons and a 350-year-old tree greeted riders as they made their way to Les Bourgeois. Brown estimated that 75 volunteers came out to support the event.
“I don’t see one frowning face here. Everyone is chill and having fun,” said Krishna Ramesh, 35, a graduate student at MU who volunteered Saturday to make sure everyone stayed hydrated. Ramesh pedaled the 16 miles with a water cooler trailer strapped to his bike and offered ice water to the riders.
Jess Johnson, a registration volunteer, helped check in many of the 425 participants.
“It helps build community and brings together a diverse crowd,” she said. “It’s kind of a rush pulling off an event like this.”
One of the first participants to register was Bonnie Trickey, 70, a recently retired mortgage banker. Trickey has been looking forward to the event all summer and called the Boone Dawdle one of Columbia’s most wonderful events.
Brown and his team are already looking forward to next year’s Boone Dawdle.
“We’ll cook up new trail-side surprises,” he said. He hopes that next year’s event will include a 100-person float trip down the Missouri River.
The planners are always looking to make improvements and to get more people involved with their events.
“We started planning in late April,” he said. “It’s a great thing to do in mid-Missouri.”
Brown is enthusiastic about the event and happy that more people are learning how to dawdle every year.
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.