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Yough River Trail Council plans Fall Foliage Ride/Walk

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

The 18th annual Yough River Trail Fall Foliage Ride/Walk will be held on Oct. 14, beginning at Yough River Park in Connellsville.

The event is not a race. After registration, participants can begin biking, running or walking whatever distance they choose on the Yough River Trail, part of the Great Allegheny Passage, toward Ohiopyle or West Newton.

The ride, run and walk has been around for almost as long as the Yough River Trail Council, and it's the second-longest-running fundraiser for trail maintenance. The event is not timed or measured normally, but this year organizers have added a new feature for those who want a little competition.

There will be two “challenge rides” of 6 and 15 miles with a prize offered in both categories.

“We are setting up two stations to retrieve a token, one at 3 miles and one at 7 12 miles along the trail. If riders get a token at one of the spots and return it to Yough Park by 3 p.m., they will be entered into a drawing for a gift card, one for each of the two distances,” said Ted Kovall, Yough River Trail Council president.

Connellsville Lions Club members will serve a picnic at 3 p.m. All participants are encouraged to be back by then to enjoy delicious food, including hot dogs, ham barbecue, fresh vegetables, baked beans and hot and cold drinks.

“There will be lots of fantastic cookies, too,” Kovall said. “The luncheon is always great. The Connellsville Lions Club does all the preparation work and serves it. In exchange, we give them part of the profits to use for their Lions Square Summer Concert Series the following year.”

“The Lions Club members have served the meal, I think, from day one,” Lions Club member George Puskar said. “In fact, the first couple of years it was at Camp Carmel, and we had to truck all the supplies. We even had to take a generator because there was no electric at the camp.

“Our two groups have always cooperated well, and we think the Fall Foliage Ride is one of the better events held in the city. That's why we continue doing it, and we enjoy doing it,” Puskar said. “We meet a lot of good people from town and also out-of-towners. There are a lot of them that we recognize as coming back year after year. It's a great event.”

“We will be using the profits this year to purchase a new small tractor for the camping area,” Kovall said. “Our old one went belly up.”

Any other money raised will help pay winter bills, such as utilities, repair parts, camping area supplies and toilet supplies.

Pre-registration by Saturday is $15. After that and on race day, the cost is $18, which includes the picnic and a T-shirt. Registration and packet pickup will be at noon. All ages are encouraged to participate. The form is available online at www.youghrivertrail.com.

For more information, call 724-628-6078.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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