The Newman Centers of North Dakota State and the University of North Dakota are set to host their annual Bike, Race, & Ride on April 27 through April 29.
The race will pit contestants representing the NDSU St. Paul’s Newman Center against those representing the UND St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center.
Proceeds from the entry-fee and rider sponsorships will benefit each university’s respective Newman Center.
Riders will begin the 25-mile race in Hillsboro, travel on County Highway 13 to Caledonia and then back to Hillsboro.
The route this year is unique as it allows riders from NDSU and UND to ride together when previously the two had different routes.
The winning school will be based on multiple factors, including the total riders from each team who finish, the number of riders from each school with times in the top ten and which school raises the most funds.
Riders from NDSU are asked to fundraise $200 or pay a $50 registration fee, all to benefit St. Paul’s Newman Center.
While the actual race will take place on Saturday, bike tune-ups and a spaghetti dinner will take place the day before.
Following the race on Saturday will be brats and a street dance.
The race began in 1986, when the pastor at the UND St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center thought of a bike race as “friendly competition” between the UND and NDSU and as a way for the students to raise money and give back to their Newman Centers.
UND was the initial winner of the race, earning both a faster time and raising a larger amount of money.
However, the competition has been fierce, with goals increasing each year.
Tara Splonskowski, a staff associate at the Newman Center and former student who participated in the race, said the goal of the bike race is to, “bring the community together, have some friendly competition with (our) compadres, the UND Newman Center, and raise $100,000 for the next year of ministry at NDSU.”
Splonskowski, who works to coordinate the event, spoke of the community of Hillsboro as being excited to play host for the event and of wanting their high school students who are entering college to see a faith community coming together to have fun and support a good cause.
St. Paul’s Newman Center is a non-profit organization that services the student population of NDSU. In addition to Catholic Campus ministry, the Newman Center sponsors a variety of events for students, such as the weekly “Buckluck,” an opportunity for students to receive a home-cooked meal in exchange for a small donation, snacks for students in the Newman center building, retreats, conferences, speakers and more.
It is also responsible for the frequently seen “bisonCatholic” T-shirts around campus
According to TeenaJoe Fischer, chairperson for the event, the bike race is the largest fundraiser for the Newman Center and provides an opportunity for bisonCatholic students and community members to be active in a fun and challenging event.