“Every single month we’re running a deficit because the residents don’t get enough money to pay for their tuition here,” said Greg Flowers, executive director of Hickory Log, a personal care home that provides shelter and training for developmentally disabled men. “The bike ride is a saver. It helps us get back to basically where we should be. We wouldn’t be able to stay open if it wasn’t for that.”
Located in White, Hickory Log was established in 1970 to meet the needs of Bartow County residents who before had to use out-of-county facilities. Currently, the nonprofit serves 18 residents, ranging in age from 32 to 76.
“Hickory Log is a home for men with developmental disabilities,” Flowers said. “Each and every day things that we take for granted — like waking up and getting ready to go to work, brush your teeth, eat, drive to work — these are things that the residents, a lot of them, have to be reminded on each and every day. ‘Did you brush your teeth?’ ‘Oh, I forgot to brush my teeth.’
“So, every single day, they go through a training period, a couple of times a day really, where they learn how to take care of themselves and their home and their environment. Then they go to work every day and come back and pretty much go through the process again of learning how to become as independent as possible.”
Registration already is underway for the 13th annual Beautiful Backroads Century that will be held Sept. 21 at 8 a.m. Along with being a sponsor for the bicycle ride, Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville brewery — 100 Busch Drive — will serve as the offering’s starting and ending points. The event will wrap up with a meal and entertainment for all participants and a beer sampling for cyclists 21 and older.
With entry fees set at $45 per cyclist, on-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. for the ride that will include 15-, 33-, 44-, 64- and 100-mile routes.
“The ride started in 2000 by the gentleman by the name of Jim Edwards,” said Anheuser-Busch Assistant Brewmaster Amruth Reddy, who is directing the ride with the assistance of Missy Smith, Debbie Parsley, Susette Darnell, Bill Adkins and JoAnn Powell. “He started it with his own money. He did it to kind of give something back to the community. The primary benefactor from the ride is the Hickory Log Vocational School for men. It started out with about 150 riders and it’s grown to last year, where we had 1,650 riders, which was our record. Over the years, we’ve donated over $200,000 to the Hickory Log [organization].
“... In addition, there’s some groups like Boy Scout troops and different churches that are volunteers at our rest stops, and if they sponsor one of our rest stops, we donate to those groups also but it’s a smaller donation. So it’s a way for a lot of different groups to get involved in the ride and also do some fundraising for their groups. Plus it’s a way for us at the brewery — we want to keep the donations local, so we look to our local charities and local groups that want to raise money.”
For more information about the Beautiful Backroads Century, visit www.bikebbc.com or contact Reddy at 678-447-4084 or Amruth.Reddy@anheuser-busch.com.