OTTAWA, Kan –May 22, 2017--The City of Ottawa was thrilled to hear about the first event for the Flint Hills Nature Trail – Rush the Rails.  Dirty Kanza Promotions announced a new event on the Flint Hills Nature Trail coming in the fall (October 7th, 2017) that will serve as the grand opening celebration.  Dirty Kanza Promotions will be working in conjunction with the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, and the many communities that come along the trail between Osawatomie, KS and Council Grove, KS.  While the trail is currently open to trail users, some sections still require  maintenance.  Locally one section within the city limits is being installed this summer and early fall.  “A grant was just recently received and our Public Works Department will be working to cut back the trees and install the trail” said Wynndee Lee, Community Development Director.

Multiple activities will be offered within this event. Three non-competitive bike rides will be available; a 96 mile ride from Osawatomie, a 54 mile ride from Pomona State Park (Vassar, KS), and a 25 mile ride from Admire, KS. All distances will end in Council Grove. In addition to the ride, a competitive relay run will be held. Teams of 4 and 8 runners can compete over the full 96 mile course departing from Osawatomie. Awards will be awarded to top teams and various team categories.

Lelan Dains, Operations Manager with Dirty Kanza offered, “The event will showcase to outdoor endurance sporting enthusiasts, and their families and supporters, the wonderful resource that is the Flint Hills Nature Trail. It will also highlight the wonderful businesses and people that make the Midwest a desirable place to visit.”  This is why Dirty Kanza is helping, they want those around the country and world to visit the Midwest and get to know our amenities and these events is that sort of opportunity.

John Coen, Chamber Executive Director, indicated that locally a committee has been formed to begin planning for the local events.   Coen indicated the committee is planning an outdoor band and street dance on Friday night, along with retail market and food trucks on Saturday.  “We are also hoping for some family friendly biking events or bike parade using the Prairie Spirit Trail to get local recreational riders to be a part of the fun,” said Coen.  Riders and runners will be coming through Ottawa from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Coen encourages the community to come watch and support the event all morning.

According to the information from Dirty Kanza, the event will showcase to outdoor endurance sporting enthusiasts, and their families and supporters, the wonderful resource that is the Flint Hills Nature Trail. It will also highlight the wonderful businesses and people that make the Midwest a desirable place to visit. The festivities will begin in Osawatomie on Friday, October 6th in John Brown Memorial Park and will conclude with a finish line party in Council Grove. It will be an amazing opportunity for families and fans alike to send these participants off and welcome them home. Similar activities will be coordinated along the course in Ottawa, Pomona State Park, Osage City, and Admire. 

For more information about the local events and how to be a part of the planning, contact Coen at 785-242-1000 or Wynndee Lee at wlee@ottawaks.gov .  For more information about the ride/run event contact information can be found by visiting  rushtherails.com and also liking the Rush the Rails Facebook page.