Cartersville Century set for Saturday

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Known for its plentiful rest stops and worthy cause, the Cartersville Century continues to serve as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County Inc.’s top fundraiser. In its 19th year, Saturday’s bike ride is expected to draw hundreds of cyclists from across the Southeast and generate about 10 percent of the nonprofit’s annual operating budget.

“It has evolved into just a great event — not only a great ride, but it makes some decent money for the clubs,” said Gordon Gilley, chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County. “It has about 200 volunteers. Our costs are so little that everything we do goes directly to the clubs. Even our six rest stops are done by volunteers and staffed by them and food [is] provided by them. We’ll have anywhere from 400 to 800 riders combined with all of our ride sponsors.

“... Our riders tell us they really enjoy the course and the support of all of our volunteers. We also hear that they know it’s for a good cause. Not only will it net us [$40,000] to $50,000, it will bring probably equal that into the community with hotels and gas and restaurants. The economic impact for Cartersville and Bartow County is significant as well.”

To participate in the Cartersville Century, cyclists can register at the event at 6 a.m. or sign up online at http://www.cartersvillecentury.org. Starting and ending at Dellinger Park in Cartersville, the ride features an 8 a.m. mass start and five distance options: 100 miles, 62 miles, 30 miles, 15 miles and four miles.

According to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cartersville-century-tickets-24001929417#tickets, entry fees are $20 per person for the 4 Mile Fun Ride and $50 for the other distances.

Opened in May 1990 at the Goodyear Clubhouse in the Atco community, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County now features two locations — 642 Henderson Drive in Cartersville and 127 King St. in Adairsville — and serves about 300 children a day with its summer program. During the school year and the summer, the units offer youth ages 6 to 18 educational and cultural opportunities and activities such as basketball and arts and crafts.

“It’s part of our overall budget,” Gilley said. “It will be just for operations. With two full clubs run on less than $400,000 a year, this will be a significant impact and help us continue to serve kids anywhere from six to 10 hours a day.

“For 26 years for a vast majority of our members, we’ve been the only viable service option that they have. If you become engaged and involved in the Boys & Girls Clubs here in Bartow County, you’re going to finish high school; you’re going to make better life choices; you’re going to be a contributing member of society; you’re going to have post high school options; you’re going to be a good family person with a moral compass. Kids that become involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs stay out of trouble. They learn and become good citizens.”

Echoing Gilley’s comments, Kevin Cooney — Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County’s board member and Cartersville Century chairman — stressed that involvement in the organization helps members reach their full potential.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County and its Cartersville Century, call 770-382-5500 or visit http://cartersvillecentury.org.