Big crowd for Firecracker race and run - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Big crowd for Firecracker race and run

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The gorgeous weather drew a large crowd to the Eau Claire Expo Center on Sunday.  People of all ages showed up to participate in the Red Flint Firecracker mountain bike races and trail run.

The past few weeks of rainy weather left organizers hustling to get the race path ready. "There were some trails that needed some work, one trail that got washed out," said Jereme Rauckman of the Chippewa Off Road Bike Association.  "We had volunteers out here a couple evenings this week rebuilding a section of trail and putting in a 35-foot boardwalk just to keep the riders dry and the trails safe," said Rauckman.

Their hard work paid off.  Nearly 1,000 people gathered to compete and cheer on family and friends.  "People come from all over the state and the Midwest.  A lot of them bring their families and make a weekend of it," said Rauckman.

"I drove up this morning, about three and a half hours," said Greg Niles, a participant from Waukesha.  Although many people traveled to be here, locals are glad they have a place to compete close to home.   "I've been competing since the race started about 7 or 8 years ago," said Dave Olson from Altoona.

There was a race for everyone.  From kids, teenagers, first-timers, seniors and pros, it was a true family affair.  "I'd like to be done before the kids races start at 1:00 p.m. so I can see my son," Olson said.

All proceeds from the event benefit one organization, the Chippewa Off Road Biking Association, which is a local volunteer group that builds and maintains single track right here in Eau Claire and Chippewa County," said Rauckman.

CORBA is responsible for maintaining many of the trails that were used in Sunday's race.  CORBA, which got its start in 2005, has added and maintained many miles of trails throughout the Chippewa Valley, including trails in Otter Creek Park in Altoona and Hickory Ridge in the Chippewa County Forest.

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