It’s a relay race that’s defined the culture of Bend.
And after two long long years – the Selco Community Credit Union’s 44th annual Pole, Pedal, Paddle is back.
“But do you know?” I said excitedly to Sue Fox, the Director of Sales and Events at Tumalo Creek Kayaks, regarding if the event is happening this year.
“I do know!” Fox said.
“That it’s coming back?”
“It’s coming back,” Fox said.
“People joke, because there’s a lot of people that are Olympians here in town, or ex-Olympians and that the Pole, Pedal, Paddle win is maybe bigger than that,” said Mike Schindler one of the owners of Sunnyside Sports.
The PPP is a relay race throughout Bend unofficially kicking off Summer.
Starting at Mt. Bachelor, the PPP puts racers to the test in Alpine skiing, cross country skiing, biking, running, kayaking, and sprinting in that order.
Schindler competed in the PPP as part of a team several times, telling me that the running and paddling parts were easier for the less athletically inclined.
“It’s a big deal because if you win it solo, you really have to be pretty well rounded,” Schindler said.
Most contestants run the race in teams or pairs, donning costumes and palling around in the great outdoors Central Oregon has to offer.
And after two consecutive years of the race being canceled, the PPP will return – along with all the business it brings to Bend.
“It’s definitely something that we look at when we look at hotel stays and impacts on restaurants in a positive way,” said Kevney Dugan the CEO of Visit Bend.
“We have so many people renting that we have to bring in boats from other outfitters to supply the number of rentals,” Fox said.
The event will be on May 14th and the kids’ race is set for May 22nd.
Registration and the website for the 2022 event is not yet available.
Excitement brewing over the PPP’s return is electrifying Bend natives and visitors from across the Northwest.
“I think that pent up energy from the past two years,” Dugan said, “is only going to make crossing the finish line this year that much more exciting if we get to do it.”
“And it’s going to be one of the more attended PPP’s we’ve seen in a while,” Fox said.