THE 25th ANNIVERSARY of Greenville’s
Cotton Patch Challenge, CPC, a Major Bicycle Tour Ride
This year’s Ride will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Cotton Patch Challenge, a bicycling tour ride first offered in 1996. The tour ride since 1996, has had many changes in sponsors, locations, and volunteers, but always has been centered around Greenville. The net funds are always given to the nonprofit organizations serving Greenville and Hunt County.
Bob Mudie, then President of the Chamber and an ardent cyclist, originated the idea of Greenville developing its own cycling tour ride. With the support of a core group of eight serious Greenville cyclists, who also wanted to bring a bicycling event to Greenville, the planning began. This core group and an additional twenty-two volunteers, who used their cycling experience from attending other rides, put together a ride for Greenville. This first ride was called Cotton Jubilee Bicycle Ride.
The goal set for the first ride was to have enough interest to do the ride again. With 200 riders registered for the first year, it was a definite go for the next year. Now we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of this continuous ride. The original group of 8 stayed together for the first 5 years.
The first bike rides were held in the northern part Hunt County, but in 2016, the ride moved to the southern part of the County. During the ride’s first 20 years it experienced two name changes, different starting locations, 3 different ride dates and even, for a few years, held organized timed races. One of the reasons for the route change, north to south, was that the finishing leg was 16 miles straight into a regular SW head wind. The organizing group had a consultant come to look over the ride and his major suggestion was to change the whole ride to going out South and heading back home going North with a tail wind.
The southern route is close to an equilateral triangle with traffic flow going clockwise. The 74-mile route’s first leg is a long run down to Emory. The second leg is a long straight shot West over Lake Tawakoni on the Two-Mile Bridge. Then the route continues on to a right turn just short of Quinlan. The 3rd leg uses several different county and state roads to get back to Greenville, heading North most of the way. There are cutoffs to 6 shorter routes 61, 46, 35, 21, 12 and 6 miles inside of the 74-mile course.
Over the past 24 years, the ride has been hosted by many different co- sponsors. The Greenville Rotary Club became the sole sponsor of the ride in 2019, and continues to be.
The ride held in 2020 was one of the very few bicycle rides held in NE Texas that year. Under strict Covid-19 protocols, 400 riders enjoyed a perfect day for a ride in the country.
In the five years since moving the ride to the Southern Route, the ride has provided $133,000 in net funds to the nonprofits serving Greenville and Hunt County.