By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 5, 2012. The 14th annual Blood, Sweat and Gears bike race, held on June 23, generated $67,510 in total net proceeds and donated 85.2 percent of those proceeds. Donations included $50,000 to the Watauga chapter of the American Red Cross and $7,500 to various local volunteer fire departments and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office.
Within the last 90 days, Blood, Sweat and Gears was approved as a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization. The non-profit organization has always helped the American Red Cross — in past years, being a Red Cross event in particular — but now, according to Scott Nelson, president of BSG Events, they have the flexibility to help other community organizations that might need some assistance.
Nelson praised the local volunteer fire departments and the Sheriff’s Office for their continued support over the years.
“They were with us when we were 70 riders and we were wondering if we were going to make any money,” said Nelson. “They’re still with us today and here we are planning our 15th ride for 2013 and they’re still full on with us. They haven’t cut back, they haven’t eased back and the relationship has been great. We’re fortunate where we’re in a position where we can help.”
This year, the event sold out in record time (within 10 hours). BSG has ballooned in size to 1,250 riders this year.
In addition to BSG developing “almost a cult following,” as Nelson said someone described it to him, the annual event also has a huge economic impact on the High Country from the number of people it brings into the area.
Speaking of an independent study done by Appalachian State University, Nelson said, “Last year the number was just shy of a $900,000 impact on the economy. Probably this year — they’ve got the raw data in, they just have not performed the analysis piece of it — but scanning through the preliminary numbers my guess is it will take us north of $1 million.”
Nelson has plans for additions to the 2013 installment of BSG. He said he has been planning for the 15th anniversary for about three months already. BSG organizers have been surveying people to see if training rides would be a good addition in days prior to the actual ride. Nelson also said he hopes to have vendors on hand in 2013. An after-party is also in the plans and Nelson couldn’t publicly reveal where this party might take place but hinted that it might be in a very well-known location if everything goes according to plans.
BSG also encourages readers to check out The Watauga County Red Cross Run 4 The Red Marathon and Half Marathon Sept. 15 in Valle Crucis. It is a fundraising run for the Watauga County Red Cross. More information is available at www.run4thered.com.
For more information, visit bloodsweatandgears.org.