Department of Tourism
Bicycle Fest to Welcome Joe Bowen Back to Kentucky
After a 14,000 mile, 16-month bicycle trek across the United States, Joe Bowen is returning to his native Eastern Kentucky, and the communities of Stanton and Beattyville are throwing a big bash and staging several exciting bike competitions to welcome him home.
The 62-year-old Bowen, to whom Governor Ernie Fletcher presented the first “Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Award” in March 2005 as he began his cross-country trip from California, will be the guest of honor at the first Pedals & Blooms Bicycle Festival June 16-18.
During Bowen’s trek, which has retraced a journey he made in 1968 after service in the military with only a bike and $43 in his pocket, he has promoted Kentucky tourism and shared his experiences with schoolchildren in Eastern Kentucky via laptop computer and digital camera.
The breathtaking scenery of the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Red River Gorge will provide the backdrop for the festival, in particular an 80-mile bike road race on Saturday June 17 sanctioned by the American Bicycle Racing Association. The competitions will also include a 45-lap high-speed “criterium” race on Sunday June 18.
Festival organizers have issued challenges to bicycle clubs in 10 states to participate in the races, said spokesperson Sherry Cantrell.
Meanwhile, the Beattyville Art Festival will draw a crowd to welcome Joe home as he rides into the Lee County town on Friday June 16. The festival continues all day Saturday.
Leaving Beattyville Saturday morning, Joe will cruise into Stanton in Powell County joined by about 70 elementary school students who will be anxiously awaiting the chance to ride with him. The children are among those who have been following Joe’s journey online at school.
The two-day Stanton Mountain Festival will feature local crafts, including hand-woven baskets and paintings, as well as food booths serving grilled sandwiches, homemade ice cream and candies.
Kids from two to 12 years old are encouraged to bring their bikes for races and a “best-dressed bicycle” contest.
Entertainment throughout the weekend will include music performed by Wildfire, the Appalachian Troubadours, Alison Wasson and the Shady Grove Express.