here were more than 20 rest stops in this week’s Hotter N’ Hell 100 race on Aug 27, but the one that saw the most students was the rest stop in Burkburnett. This stop was managed by Leadership Wichita Falls, a non-profit organization which helps the community of Wichita Falls in everything possible.
Matthew Park, assistant vice president in student affairs, said, “We all love to come out and show all of the riders from all over the country the hospitality and financial relationship that is characteristic of the personality of Wichita Falls.”
Park said he, Leadership Wichita Falls, and the athletes love to help out with the race every year. The athletic teams have been doing this for four years, and, according to men’s soccer coach, Doug Elder, have loved it ever since. The athletes out at the stop were both of the school’s soccer teams in the morning, and the softball and cheer teams in the afternoon.
Elder said, “We look forward to it every year, and the race never disappoints,” Elder said. “We get out here at 8:30 a.m., cut up all of the fruit and pickles, make the Gatorade drinks, and help set up our tents.”
Elder said this year was pretty smooth compared to previous years, and the weather certainly didn’t hurt.
Elder said, “Generally around 11 a.m., we start to see 100 degree temperatures, but today we’re only looking at 85. It’s really nice.”
Park also mentioned the weather, saying it was definitely not Hotter ’N Hell.
“I heard all week that it was going to be nice, and it certainly has been. I don’t think there has been a cooler Hotter ‘N Hell than this one,” Park said.
The student athletes who worked the stop said they admired the racers work ethic, and since they experience the physical and mental workload that sports puts on their bodies, they felt moved to come out and help.
Jordan Speed, marketing junior and men’s soccer player said, “I love seeing all of these racers push themselves. I feel like I needed to come out here and help these people who are racing from the community of Wichita Falls since they come out and support us every week during our season.”
Alex Gerondale, finance freshman, also said she liked helping out the racers.
Gerondale said, “I love being able to help out bikers and help the community. It’s great to see how hard they work.”
Gerondale said she can’t wait to come back and help next year.
One thing student athletes, such as mathematics freshman Emily Fisher, liked was seeing all of the interesting bikes and bike gear.
Fisher said, “It’s really awesome. I think it looks cool, and it gives character to the people who are out racing today.”
While the stop did go well, there was one problem that a lot of students, such as Fisher, talked about. The tents were too far away from the street.
Fisher said, “I wish they would bring the tables closer to the street so it would be easier for the bikers to get the food and water. I’m sure they don’t care much for getting off of the trail, and having their momentum stalled.”
Elder said he understands the issue, but he said the reason for moving it so far back is because the field was uneven in front of it so the tents would fall.
“It is kind of rough over here. It’s a danger too because someone could sprain their ankle while walking to the tents. Hopefully we can either get a different location next year, or even out the field a little bit,” Elder said.
Despite the field issue, the stop was a success, and the athletes said they can’t wait to come out and support the racers again next year. An important name when it came to the rest stops was Dail Neely, director of student conduct, who helps coordinate all of the rest stops. He said he’s been doing it for several years now, but this year has been the easiest.
“There hasn’t really been any problems this year. We hadn’t had any issues setting things up, and there hasn’t been any injuries as of yet so we’re all good,” Neely said.
Neely said they told him the only way to leave this job is to move away or die so he will likely be in charge for a while. He said he hopes the weather will be as good as this year for several more years.