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Economic Impact in South Wasco County: Tygh Valley Rally

This is a repost of an article that appeared on on September 30th following two successful Tygh Valley Rally weekend events. Our thanks to Kate Willis, Emily Wingard, and the people of South Wasco Alliance.

South Wasco Alliance (SWA) recently partnered with the Maupin Area Chamber of Commerce, local business owner, Susie Miles and daughter Holly Miles, and Zack Harvey, Wasco County Fairgrounds Caretaker, to get the word out about fundraising and other income-generating opportunities available through recent Cycle Oregon events held here in South Wasco County.

The Cycle Oregon Tygh Valley Rally was held Sept 10-12 and Sept 17-19. The Wasco County Fairgrounds hosted over 750 cyclists for back-to-back gravel and road courses throughout South Wasco over two weekends. To accommodate the large influx of visitors, Cycle Oregon needed help to fill 27 different work shifts ranging from meal service, sandwich making, rest stop assistance, finish line decorations, and parking lot management. Cycle Oregon offered opportunities for local organizations such as the school volleyball team and local fire departments to earn $400-1000 for easy and fun jobs ranging from 3 to 10 hours. The Cycle Oregon Fund also has funded the Deschutes River Athletic Complex (DRAC). Tygh Valley Rally volunteer opportunities were a welcome opportunity for many organizations, like the Barlow Gate Grange, that hasn’t been able to host its traditional July 4th Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for the last few years due to COVID.

Cycle Oregon organized all the logistics and assured safety precautions were met. All we had to do was show up, which was fantastic – just an easy and very fun way to be with our friends and welcome visitors to our community! We’ve been able to replenish most of the funds we normally would have raised this year,” shared one Grange member. 

Barlow Gate Grange members serving breakfast, (l to r): Dan Van Vactor, Colette Cox, Mary Alice Jackson, Jane Van Vactor, Susie Mitchell, Lisa Gambee, John Gambee, and Tom McDowell.

Entertainment also was hired locally, such as Jagerbumz, a South Wasco band that was paid for two performances during the events. “It’s nice to get recognition for a local band. Complete strangers are usually pleasantly surprised at how good we are!,” said Zack Harvey, the band leader.

All told, Cycle Oregon riders pumped nearly $17,000 in direct payments to local volunteer organizations, small and specialty farmers, and area bands, performers, and speakers. Over 162 staff, service providers and Cycle Oregon volunteers were involved over the course of both weekends. In addition to direct payments into our community, many of the 750 registered Cycle Oregon riders, plus non-riders who came with them, ate meals at local restaurants, shopped at local stores, and stayed in area motels.

Preparing lunches the night before, (from back left to right): Faith Leeper, Susie Mitchell, Bev Gill, Christina Phanthamany, Dan Van Lehman. Rick Leeper, Mary Alice Jackson (partially hidden, in pink), Emily Wingard (new AmeriCorps RARE service member), and Gina Carey. Not pictured: Colette Cox

During the week, in between the gravel and road course weekend rides, the South Wasco Alliance (SWA) sponsored three area tours to the KW Ranch, Smock School, Barlow Gate Grange, the old White River Store in Tygh Valley, and Pine Grove.  Proceeds are going to the Wamic Historical Society, the Barlow Gate Grange, SWA, and local area hosts.

Learn more about the mission of South Wasco Alliance here.

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