NORMAN — The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and cyclists raced through the trails at Lake Thunderbird’s Clear Bay area Sunday for Sooner Stampede.
The race is the second in the Tour de Dirt series, which is Oklahoma’s Mountain Bike Championship Racing Series. The “stampede” involved three adult categories and four children’s categories.
Phil Trotter, sponsorship chairman for the event, said the track was 9.7 miles. Beginners took one lap, intermediate racers took two laps and advanced racers took three laps around the track Sunday.
“It’s so much fun,” Trotter said. “With mountain bike racing you don’t have to worry about cars.”
Trotter said the event seems to get larger every year with individuals traveling from Texas, Kansas and Arkansas to compete. However, the number of participants do tend to fluctuate depending on the weather.
“Today’s nice so we’ll probably have a big turnout,” Trotter said.
The Sooner Stampede, which is hosted by the Bicycle League of Norman, has been held annually for about 14 years. Trotter said the maximum number of participants they’ve had is a little over 200.
“The first time I did (mountain biking) I felt the freedom of snow skiing, but I could do it in my backyard,” he said. “And it’s cheap once you buy the bike.”
Trotter said a lot of volunteers helped with the event with everything from roping and taping off the trails to registering people for the event.
“It takes a lot of work to set something up like this,” he said.
Sponsors from Norman and Oklahoma City donated over $2,000 for the race in the form of merchandise and gift cards. The top three in each category were sent home with a prize.
Sponsors included Buchanan Bikes, Al’s Bicycles, Bike One, Sun and Ski, 405 Bikes, Bicycle Store, Celestial Bicycles, Melonbike, Schlegel Bikes and Wheeler Dealer.