PPP: Kids Edition





It’s almost time for everyone’s favorite race of the year again: the Pole Pedal Paddle! Every May, fun seekers throughout the area round up their downhill and cross-country skis, road bikes, kayaks, trail running shoes, and crazy outfits from the depths of their garages and compete for the title of most athletic and outdoorsy Bendite.

My love for the PPP began when I was growing up in Bend. My parents signed me up for the Kids Mini PPP race, which is on Sunday after the “grown-up” race on Saturday. Back then, the race was held in Drake Park, but now it’s at the Old Mill. The race is for kids in grades 1-6, and you do it with a team of five other young competitors. It now includes about 225 teams and more than 1,000 pint-sized competitors. That’s a lot of youthful athleticism & enthusiasm!

Here’s how the kid’s race goes. The team jumps into a raft with a guide and paddles down the Deschutes. Then, one team member rides a mini cyclocross course in the grass across from the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Next, four team members run, jump, skip, and tumble through an obstacle course. The last team member does a sprint outside the course until he or she crosses the finish line with a couple hundred people cheering them on. I don’t remember much about how my team did or the color of the ribbon we all got for competing. But I do remember the free t-shirt and ice cream we got after the race. That will always be one of my favorite memories of growing up in Bend.

The PPP and Mini PPP are the epitome of everything awesome that Bend has to offer. On top of taking advantage of the unique outdoor activities we are blessed to have in our town, the events demonstrate the strong sense of community we have built. Even if you’re not a participant, they’re a heckuva a lot of fun to watch. We’ll see you out there on May 17 and 18 at the Old Mill, poling, pedaling, paddling and cheering!

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