ROGERSVILLE — A record number of riders descended on Rogersville on Saturday, August 17, for the ninth annual “Ride Like Hale” bicycle ride to benefit the Chip Hale Center.

While not officially a race, a lot of friendly competition takes place whenever you get a group of riders together and have a starting line and a finish line!

This year was no exception as a pack of nine riders all came across the finish line within seconds of each other on the 62-mile ride.

The first rider across the line was Chester Riggs of Jonesville, Virginia. This made Riggs a 3-time winner of the event. Riggs (and all of the top 9 finishers) averaged about 22.3 mph for the 62 mile course with nearly 3,000 feet of climbing. Following closely behind Riggs was Ben Rowland of Jonesborough.

This was Rowland’s first effort in “Ride Like Hale” and he rode strongly all day. Coming across third was Dan DeJager of Blountville. DeJager has been a regular in the event and is consistently in the top three every year. Other members of the group of 9 that came in together (in no particular order) were Tony Williams, Rick Giddish, Jonathan Kinnick, Nate Shreve, Chip Bowman, and Dave Holben.

Any rider who completes the 62-mile ride in less than three hours receives a patch recognizing his or her accomplishment. In addition to the lead pack mentioned earlier, Bob Rogers, Chris Wright, Emmitt Crawford, Trent Parker, Steve Peterson, and Todd Temple also completed the course in under three hours.

In addition to the 62-mile ride, there were also shorter rides of 36 and 21 miles. These rides tend to be less competitive, but there is talk of possibly adding a time challenge on these rides in the future, especially the 36-mile route which had a very large contingent this year.

All riders received a tee shirt and a post-ride meal. Riders expressed appreciation to the Chip Hale Center for the hospitality and all reported that they had a great time.

All told, 118 riders started the event this year, and nearly all finished their respective rides. Those two or three that did not finish had a mechanical issue or a minor medical issue such as a cramp. There were no wrecks and every ride came off very smoothly.

Riders were very appreciative of the low-traffic routes and the courtesy shown to them by the few cars that did pass them.