WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — There’s been a lot of changes throughout Hotter’N Hell Hundred’s history. But the one constant is its home: Wichita Falls.
Nicholas Quallich spoke with some of the city’s leadership getting their perspective on why the city and Hotter’N Hell Hundred are a match made in heaven.
Like those riding in Hotter’N Hell Hundred, Henry Florsheim, Jana Schmader, and Lindsay Barker all have different memories of the popular cycling event.
Barker and Schmader are Texoma natives and have known about the race for years.
Lindsay Barker, Wichita Falls convention and visitors bureau director says “I remember growing up in Holliday and having the riders come out and be on our road and seeing them. That was when the race use to go out that way.”
“I grew up around the stadium and it was the same thing. We got up super early to watch the riders and it was just such an anticipation and an excitement to see this big crowd go through,” says Jana Schmader, downtown Wichita Falls development executive director.
Florsheim’s perspective is a bit different. Before arriving in Wichita Falls as the chamber of commerce president and CEO, Hotter’N Hell Hundred wasn’t something he knew much about. “I had learned a little bit about the ride just doing my research, just getting ready for the interviews and all, but I was amazed to find out how many of my friends around the country either knew about it because they were cyclists or they had actually been here to ride in that ride,” says Florsheim.
Now, the individual Wichita Falls organization leaders have had a significant amount of experience with Hotter’N Hell Hundred and explain why they believe Wichita Falls is an ideal city for the annual event.
“For a city our size, as far away as we are from bigger metro areas, that’s a pretty cool story to tell,” says Florsheim.
“It’s going to become part of our identity,” says Barker.
“Our community rallies around it. We have over 4,000 volunteers every year that participate in this event,” says Schmader.
People open up their homes. And year after year, we hear these riders become family. They invest in each other’s stories and watch each other’s kids grow up. As to what can make the Hotter’N Hell Hundred experience better, with events like the recently created Hotter’N Hell Hundred, it’s all about getting visitors to return year after year and take in all the city has to offer. I would love to see them come back and come visit us for another weekend that’s not for the Hotter’N Hell Hundred. They come, they get a good experience. They have a taste of what Wichita falls has to offer. All with the goal of ensuring Hotter’N Hell Hundred and the area economy continue to pedal ahead,” says Barker.
One of this year’s new events is the gravel grinder, in which riders can ride on gravel for 25, 43 or 62.1 miles.