The 6th Annual 911 Memorial Challenge Committee is witnessing and coordinating the evolution of a bona fide community and regional tourism event. The full-day 17-mile hike will still be the focus of the Challenge (to include the newly established Half Challenge) however, activities planned for the weekend will provide opportunities for everyone to be a part of the 911 Remembrance.
“It’s amazing to see how this event is growing,” stated this year’s Chairman Rob Mathias. He added, “This year will be the turning point when we remember that the community came together to make this a really big deal.” Examples of this support include the Friday evening spaghetti feed sponsored by Barley’s Sports Bar and parade banners put up by Mt. Grant Electric, the Sunday 911 Remembrance breakfast sponsored by the Elk’s Lodge and special advertising and room rates offered by the El Capitan. Also, the Art Jones Band will play a set on Friday night and has agreed to use of their Cottonwood Road property for organizers and others to set up a 911 Camp on Friday night.
The community support has been evident for years as dozens of sponsors, local EMTs, firefighters and volunteers have made the Challenge possible. Kirk Bausman has been coordinating this year’s volunteer efforts and is pleased with the added support of community organizations that will have representatives providing food and water to the participants.
The weekend’s events will kick off with the 911 Memorial Parade staging at Wagner’s Hardware. A bagpiper and color guard will lead the way down Main Street beginning at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to help carry the big flag to be raised at the Veteran’s Memorial Park. Individual entrants are also encouraged to include sports teams, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations.
LTC Scott Bishop, Commander at Hawthorne Army Ammunition Plant, will officiate the Remembrance ceremony and flag raising on Friday evening after the parade. Then packet pick-up and registration for the Challenge will commence. A spaghetti dinner and entertainment are also part of the evening’s festivities, and everyone is invited to participate. There will be no charge for the meal with donations welcome.
The 911 Camp Out will be held near the race start and special room rates for Challenge participants are being offered by the El Capitan Lodge and Casino. Be sure to mention that you are a Challenge participant when making your reservation.
Challenge participants will meet early Saturday morning at the staging area on Cottonwood Drive. Those completing the Half Challenge will be transported to the start and the Full 17-mile hikers will start beginning at sunrise between 6:30 and 7 a.m. In honor of one of the originators of the 911 Memorial Challenge, Cliff Cichowlaz Awards will be offered to the first three men and first three women to complete the full challenge.
On Sunday, Sept. 11 the BPO Elks will sponsor a breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. for 911 Challenge participants and the community. The cost is $8 per person and there will be hourly remembrances to honor those who lost their lives on that day.
Registration for the Challenge is available on active.com, and you can visit the website at 911mt.grantchallenge.org for additional information.