For the second year in a row, the family of Rita Larson is sponsoring the Simon Kenton Ride. Larson’s husband, Bruce Larson, and her daughter Carmen Bowen Pepe, along with her husband Mike and sons Pierden and Pase, are sponsoring the ride to honor the memory of Rita, who grew up in Zanesfield, graduated from Logan Hills High School, then from Urbana College with her teaching degree. She went on to get her master’s degree in leadership at Wright State University. During her 30-year career, she taught English at Kenton Ridge High School.
She enjoyed riding the Simon Kenton Trail with her fellow teachers and staff from Kenton Ridge. She was also an avid gardener.
The Simon Kenton Pathfinders hold the Simon Kenton Ride each year to raise the funds to support the Simon Kenton Trail. The building of the trail spans 18 years, concluding with a partnership with West Liberty and Bellefontaine to complete the northern extension. The cost of maintaining the trail includes sealcoating, equipment repair and replacement, and gas. Most of the labor is volunteered by Pathfinders and includes trimming the bushes and trees, mowing and removing trash and obstacles.
The ride consists of three routes: a metric century, a half century and a 15-mile ride on the Simon Kenton Trail, perfect for families. All routes begin and end at the Urbana Depot, at 644 Miami St. A continental breakfast and lunch is provided. Registration forms are available online at simonkentonpathfinders.org and in the Depot. The Pathfinders encourage riders to invite a friend or relative and enjoy the ride together.
The question has been asked, “Why should I pay to ride the trail when I can ride it for free anytime?” The Simon Kenton Pathfinders have spent 18 years in meetings, negotiations, planning and executing fundraisers, writing grants and raising money to demonstrate their commitment by matching grants. They’ve had help from people who shared their skills to further this venture. Businesses and individuals donated money to support the construction of the trail. This effort has by no means been free.
The Pathfinders invite others to join in this effort to keep this trail in good condition by becoming members ($10 for an individual membership, $15 for a family), registering for the ride ($25 for adults, $15 for children) or donating time or money. The group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Depot Coffeehouse. For more information, call President Nancy Lokai Baldwin at 937 605 2434, check out the group on Facebook or visit SimonKentonPathfinders.org.