"Here its open plains. We saw some pronghorn coming in, a big herd of pronghorns. That was really cool to see.”
- Journey of Hope Cyclist Preston Bell
CASPER, WY - National Pi Kappa Phi members are on a Journey of Hope across the U.S. to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.
The team has done plenty of physical preparation for this two and a half month trip but each member has committed more to their team than just a fun time on the road.
"We have to commit to raise $5,500 for Push America and its two months. Averaging about 75 miles a day after that we normally have friendship visits were we go and interact with people with disabilities,” said Journey of Hope Cyclist Preston Bell.
The cyclists are from all around the nation, but say there’s a uniqueness to Wyoming.
"Here its open plains. We saw some pronghorn coming in, a big herd of pronghorns. That was really cool to see,” said Bell. “The canyons and stuff like that. It’s been beautiful. The other states we've gone through so far Montana, Washington, and Idaho have also been beautiful. We've just seen mountains and stuff like that."
Organizations work with the team on their long ride across the country.
"We're kind of like a pit-stop for them. We sponsor them and invite them to come down to our facility and have dinner with us and we do some games with them. This is the 5th year they've stopped with us to come and do what they call friend visits," said NOWCAP Community Services Associate Director Lorie Ordiway.
Volunteers with Push America travel with the cyclists on their trip to provide repairs and directions along the way.
"A van is never more than 10 miles away from the cyclist at any point. We make sure we stay close to them. For all turns they have to take, we have a van that will go up and, we call it marking a turn. There will be a crew member there in real time, marking the turn and telling them which way to go," said Team Public Relations Coordinator Matt Franklin.
In the end, all the people involved are working for a cause.
"Trying to give back in a concrete way to people with disabilities that we meet,” said Franklin. “A lot of times we come into towns like this we'll ride in the morning and in the afternoon we'll meet with a group like nowcap. We'll get to meet people and hangout. A lot of times we'll be able to give them grants."
Kelly Walsh High School administration provided lodging for the group's stay in Casper before the 19 cyclists finish their 4,000 mile trip toward Washington D.C.
The team will stop in Wheatland and Cheyenne before heading south to Denver. The group is expected to arrive by August 8th.