By Anna Jauhola
Months of planning to host nearly 100 bicyclists paid off last week for the city of Hallock.
The participants of the CaNDak Bicycle Tour voted Hallock as the Best Overall Host Community and Best Breakfast served, which garnered the city $750.
“We were hoping for it, of course,” said Sharlene Klegstad, member of the planning committee. “We felt we did a really good job. The cyclists enjoyed it and the community enjoyed it. And we had good participation to welcome the cyclists. It was great.”
Hallock had a few inside tips from former Hallock resident Carol Visness, who participated in the tour and many others like it. Klegstad said her advice really helped in planning.
Klegstad received the news on Tuesday, Sept. 3 via texts saying “Congratulations!” and “You deserve it!”
“I thought, ‘Well, this sounds nice, but what is it?’” Klegstad said, laughing.
Finally, Visness texted back and said Hallock was voted best host community and best breakfast. Then Klegstad heard officially from the tour coordinator, saying, “Hallock was such a treat for us to stay in. Thanks again!”
Although the tour had yet to go through several towns before the end, many cyclists who came through expressed their delight with Hallock’s hospitality and events. Klegstad said many of them enjoyed signs volunteers placed along Highway 75 north of Hallock that featured trivia or displayed how many miles to town. When cyclists arrived in town, they received a welcome packet that included snacks, milk and water.
“They were like, ‘Woah! So what do we owe you for this?’ We said, ‘Nothing.’ They were shocked,” Klegstad said. “They seemed to really enjoy everything.”
She added the cyclists thought the camping area was great, despite an unforeseen problem with electricity and a water pipe in the ice arena. They toured Far North Spirits, took golf cart rides through town and one volunteer took a set of cyclists to Two River Cemetery to visit relatives’ last resting spots.
They also enjoyed the activities downtown, especially the kiddie bike parade.
“They felt like we were very welcoming and we liked to show off the town,” Klegstad said.
Overall, the event was a success. Should Hallock be a host town in the future, Klegstad said they would change only one thing. When cyclists rode into town, they immediately turned by the school and went to the camping area.
“We had this grand vision that they’d come in downtown and there’d be music playing and they’d get their welcome packets,” Klegstad said. “But, Carol (Visness) told me they want to get to where they’re camping. They’re tired and don’t want to do anything extra right away.”
So, the volunteers moved from downtown to the football field to distribute welcome bags. In the future, they’d likely plan to do any welcoming activities near the campsite and community celebrations downtown.
As for the $750, the committee will gather again soon and decide what exactly to do with the money. As the CaNDak tour rotates its route each year, it wouldn’t be coming through Hallock again for a few years. So, they aren’t fundraising right now, but hope to invest the money back into the community.
“I think we’re expecting to donate the $250 back to the Eagles since they did such a wonderful job serving breakfast,” Klegstad said. “In turn, they make worthwhile contributions to the community.”
Plus, the committee had $100 left over from fundraising, so they will gather to decide what the $600 will go toward.
“Ideas are great,” she said. “We don’t think it should be something random. We hope to use it in some way that people could benefit from it.”
By Anna Jauhola