THE HOTTER N HELL HUNDRED STEERING COMMITTEE JUST ROLLED OFF ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL RIDE.
IT WAS BACK IN 1982 OUR SPIRIT OF TEXOMA AWARD WINNER HELPED SET THE WHEELS IN MOTION FOR THE FIRST EVER 100 MILE BICYCLE RIDE IN 100 DEGREE HEAT TO CELEBRATE THE CITY'S 100TH BIRTHDAY.
TONIGHT, WE HONOR ROBY CHRISTIE WITH THIS MONTH'S AWARD... AND SPOTLIGHT WHAT HIS DREAMS AND CONTRIBUTIONS WILL FOREVER MEAN TO OUR CITY.
Roby Christie says "A group from New York had suggested our kick off event be a rocking chair marathon, well we had a brand new bicycle club and we were really thinking in terms of bicycle ride not a rocking chair marathon but we said that we didn't think that was quite right and a gentleman from the consulting firm thought I was as crazy as I thought he was."
SOON THE IDEA TO BRING A RIDE TO WICHITA FALLS HIT THE PAVEMENT, WHEN ROBY AND OTHER CYCLISTS TOOK OFF TO TELL FOLKS ALL OVER ABOUT THE FIRST TIME EVENT IN WICHITA FALLS.
Christie: "At the time particularly in Texas people didn't ride long distance, it was just short rides. We would ride to Dallas/ Fort Worth, we went to Six Flags and met a TV station there, we went to Lawton and OKC, we went to Amarillo and Lubbock to spread the word and it was a very effective advertising campaign."
ALL THOSE MILES PAID OFF WHEN 1200 CYCLISTS ROLLED INTO DOWNTOWN WICHITA FALLS FOR THE FIRST HOTTER N HELL HUNDRED.
Christie: "I am inspired annually and I have chill bumps coming on my arms right now, it is just crazy that I have this emotion for that start."
AND ROBY SAYS IT'S BEEN THAT WAY EACH YEAR...FOR 31 RIDES NOW.
Christie: "The people on the HHH committee work hard for a year to make this happen and we take a lot of pride and pleasure in doing something well and doing something together."
THE DAY OF THE RIDE 4000 VOLUNTEERS GO TO WORK.
FROM THE TRADE SHOW TO THE ROUTE WHERE CYCLISTS SEE REST STOPS FULL OF TEXOMANS GLAD TO SEE THEM AND THERE IS ALSO PLENTY OF MEDICAL STAFF ON HAND... TENTS FULL OF PEOPLE RIDERS HOPE NOT TO SEE.
AIRMEN IN TRAINING CHEER THE CYCLISTS ON AS THEY RIDE THROUGH SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, OR IN SOME CASES STOP TO SHAKE HANDS.
Christie: " 100,000 people in WF that feel the value of this and are willing to support it with their homes, their time, their patience on the road. Those things mean the most to me."
ROBY SAYS HOTTER N HELL HUNDRED IS THE CITY'S OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE WORLD WHAT HOSPITALITY IS ALL ABOUT.
Christie: "People leave WF knowing we have a really clean city, they leave WF knowing we are a city of hospitality because everybody they talk to recognizes them as a cyclist and says glad to have you in town."
IT'S THAT SAME SHOW OF SUPPORT THAT ROBY SAYS KEEPS CYCLISTS COMING BACK... AND WILL FOR YEARS TO COME.
Christie: "People here work together, support together and make things happen and I am proud of them for that."
A PRIDE THAT CAN BE SEEN THROUGHOUT THE CITY. ROBY ALSO WORKED WITH A COMMITTEE OF FOLKS AND THROUGH STREAMS AND VALLEYS THEY HELPED DESIGN THE FALLS.
THE COMMITTEE ALSO BUILT THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN TO BRING THE FALLS BACK.
Christie: "It brought something to WF that WF needed, it needed its namesake back and oh those chill bumps and I think that was important to WF and the people that lived here."
PEOPLE SHOWED THAT SUPPORT IN THE FORM OF DONATIONS... FROM TWO DOLLARS TO TWENTY FIVE BUCKS AT A TIME IT ADDED UP. 60,000 DOLLARS WAS DONATED BY RESIDENTS ALONE.
ONCE THE FALLS WERE FLOWING AGAIN VOLUNTEERS GOT BUSY AGAIN...
Christie: "We took volunteers from all over out into the country and we mined huge rocks, big as people could pick up and then sometimes we had equipment, it was a huge labor effort and we dug the canyon with a big piece of equipment and then Jack finished the project...and so then in addition to have our namesake back well we got to tell the story of how WF got its name with the lady and the child and the family crossing the river, with the river being waist deep, which in Comanche was Wee-chi-tah."
ROBY SAYS PEOPLE WHO SETTLED THIS PART OF THE WORLD WERE NOT ROCKING CHAIR PEOPLE, THEY WERE PEOPLE WHO WERE ABLE TO PERSERVERE, THE HEAT AND THE COLD AND THE DISTANCE...
THOSE SAME TYPE OF PEOPLE WHO ROLL INTO WICHITA FALLS EACH YEAR BY THE MANY THOUSANDS.
THOSE FOLKS LIKE ROBY CHRISTIE, WHO PLANS TO GO ON CONTRIBUTING JUST AS LONG AS HE'S ABLE.
Christie: "As long God leaves me on this Earth and I can add value to HHH and to WF well then I want to do that, it just means that much to me."
ROBY ALSO WORKED FOR THE US POSTAL SERVICE FOR FORTY FIVE YEARS... SERVING AS THE POSTMASTER HERE FOR FIFTEEN OF THOSE.
OWENS AND BRUMLEY FUNERAL HOMES CONGRATULATE ROBY ON HIS HONOR...
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS THE SPIRIT NOMINATE THEM NOW.