Until you see Cycle Oregon with your own eyes, it’s hard to believe how big it really is. Once you grasp the size and scope of this rolling circus, it’s hard to believe that an event of this magnitude is even possible. But year after year… after year… after year, a small army of extremely dedicated and insanely hard-working people pull it off. Not only that, they make it look easy. What’s more amazing – this small army is made up almost entirely out of volunteers.
Each year more than 120 volunteers drive the SAG vehicles, operate the Ham radio network, run the online forums, pass out chocolate milk, coordinate convoys, provide medical assistance, oversee the camp setup and perform about a thousand other critical tasks. They even oversee the hordes of volunteers from each of the host communities who serve food, haul bags, staff the rest stops, etc. (normally more than 200 each day).
Last night was the annual Cycle Oregon Volunteer Dinner, which pays tribute to all those magnificent people without whom Cycle Oregon would not and could not exist. The dinner is a lot like a family reunion, except there’s good food and no fighting. In fact, the sense of community is what brings the same volunteers back again and again even though the work is tough, the pay is nonexistent and the hours are flat-out crazy.
This year 50 of the 128 volunteers have been with the organization five years or more. Eight from that illustrious group have been around 10 or more years. And Ham radio operator Ken Westby has been at it for 21 years and counting!
As riders, we owe these folks a debt of gratitude that can never be paid in full, as much as we might try. So, to all the volunteers, whether you’ve been at it a few years or a few decades: THANK YOU!
Do you have a good story or observation about a Cycle Oregon volunteer? If so, please share it on Facebook or simply comment on this post. Do you want to become a volunteer yourself? If so, go to the “Volunteer” page on the Cycle O website.
Cycle Oregon Volunteers With 10+ Years of Service:
Ken Westby (21 years) SAG Ham
John Jackson (19 years) SAG Driver
Ann Adams (18 years) Medical Recovery
Larry Hinton (18 years) SAG Ham until last year, now Ham Net Controller
Chuck Adams (15 years) Medical Recovery
Bruce Barnes (12 years) SAG Driver
Derek Gale (11 years) SAG Ham
Neil Petty (11 years) Baggage Liaison