And they're off

Cyclists are pictured at the start of the 30th annual Blue Ridge Brutal on Saturday, Aug. 10.

WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce announced Friday, July 3, that the Blue Ridge Brutal Bike Ride has been canceled for 2020.

The decision was made by members of the Brutal event committee after much deliberation and thought due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that the event would have on Ashe County.

The event was scheduled to be held Aug. 22. Sponsorship of the ride was under the auspices of the Chamber of Commerce for the first time this year.

It began in 1989 as a fundraiser for the Ashe Civic Center and the 102-, 72- and 56-mile ride has been a longtime favorite summer event.

“The Brutal brings cyclists from all across North Carolina and the Southeast for the bike ride and in looking at the health and safety of cyclists, volunteers and the community, we felt it prudent to cancel this year’s event,” said Kitty Honeycutt, Ashe Chamber executive director. “Our priority is to keep our community safe and healthy.”

“It takes the entire county to pull off an event of this magnitude,” said Board President Andy Guion. “Business sponsors, rest stop sponsors, local and county government, volunteer fire departments and EMS and numerous volunteers all work together throughout the year to make the event a success. We are appreciative of their support.”

Riders currently registered for the event have the option of receiving a full refund, rolling their registration over to 2021 or making a charitable contribution that will support the Ashe Advantage Scholarships and the Ashe Civic Center.

The projected date for next year’s Brutal is Aug. 21.

Additional information can be found on the Blue Ridge Brutal’s website or by calling the chamber at (336) 846-9550.

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