The Norman Transcript

July 31, 2013

Race benefits the United Way

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The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Hundreds of volunteers, spectators and riders made their way to the Sooner Mall parking lot for The Ride, a big wheel race to benefit the United Way of Norman.

The event was initiated by First American Bank and co-sponsored by Sooner Mall and Bramlett & Associates Multimedia with support from countless area businesses including Citywide Mortgage, Sportstalk 1400 and Nexus Productions.

Riders ranged in age from 3-8 years old old and competed based on age and gender. Businesses and individuals purchased big wheel tricycles and decorated them however they chose. Designs were widely varied. For example, OG&E created a mini bucket truck while New Life Bible Church opted for an intriguing “living dead zombie mobile.”

In total, 48 children competed and there were smiles all around when each participant received a medal. Winners, who each received a trophy, were as follows:

3-4 year old girls

First place: Ava Wilson

Second place: Ebony Cook

Third place: Emelyn Christopher

3-4 year old boys

First place: Cannan Haynes

Second place: Riley Gay

Third place: Triston Mitchell

5-6 year old girls

First place: Caroline Clark

Second place: Laney Gay

Third place: Bekham Rother

5-6 year old boys

First place: Ethan Vinson

Second place: Jaxon Staggs

Third place: Gavin Bailey

7-8 year old girls

First place: Madeline Clark

Second place: Alexis Gay

Third place: Riley Jarvis

7-8 year old boys

First place: Parker Davis

Second place: Tony Underwood

Third place: Tyson Thomas-Simmons

In addition, trophies were awarded to the best decorated big wheels in the individual and business categories. The designs were judged by Kristin Collins, President of the United Way of Norman, Roger Brown, Assistant Superintendent of Norman Public Schools and Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney, John Pevehouse. Winners in the best decorated contest were as follows:


First place: Tony Underwood — Tony the Tiger design

Second place: Melanie Pickens — Monsters, Inc design

Third place: Jennifer Gay — Army themed design


First place: Bramlett & Associates Multimedia —Mobile shower design

Second place: McMahon Marketing — Dream machine design

Third place: Ideal Homes — Home on wheels design

In addition to the races, a carnival-like atmosphere added to the excitement of the event. The Norman Fire Department and Norman Police Department hosted activities for children and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office conducted fingerprinting for kids. Face painting and a craft table kept little ones entertained pre-race. Music and MC services were provided by Nexus Productions, SportsTalk 1400 broadcasted live from the event and Earnie the Eagle, First American Bank’s mascot, greeted kids and cheered on the racers.

“I’m overwhelmed by this event,” Collins said. “Watching the kids compete and win medals and trophies was incredibly heartwarming. The real winner, however, is the Norman community. Not only do we have a new family fun event to look forward to, we also raised nearly $5,000 to help fund the 49 programs supported by the United Way of Norman. A big thanks to First American Bank and everyone who made The Ride possible. I hope this is just the beginning of a new Norman tradition.”

First American Bank president Neil Schemmer agreed. “We are incredibly grateful to the business and community members who came together for this great cause.” he said. “The Ride was a lot of fun, but more than that, it’s been a vehicle to promote the United Way of Norman and increase our efforts in raising money for critical services in our community. The more we are able to raise, the more help the agencies in Norman are able to provide to those who need it most.”

Event organizers are looking ahead to The Ride 2014, but first there are rumors of The Ride Grand Prix, a big wheel race for adults. “We are working out the details, but it looks likely that an adult race is in the works,” Schemmer said.

For more information about the United Way of Norman, visit