281 cyclists took off from Fort Stevenson this morning for the annual CANDISC Tour.
This year the group is celebrating 20 years of 'Cycling Around North Dakota in Sakakawea
In 1993, Fort Stevenson was in dire straits.
Lake Sakakawea was down, and so was the economy in western North Dakota.
Twenty years ago, park recreation needed a revival.
(Dick Messerly, ND CANDISC Tour Coordinator) "Trying to come up with new ideas of diversifying the park instead of just fishing and boating because the lake was so low and fishing had really gone down so we decided on a bicycle tour." CANDISC to be exact.
Or rather, Cycling Around North Dakota in Sakakawea Country.
(Dick Messerly, ND CANDISC Tour Coordinator) "I thought this would be an interesting way to show off Western North Dakota. It seems to have worked. We formed a committee and we've been doing it every year since."
That first year in 1993, the tour circled the lake.
Each year, the route is changed to feature a new landmark.
(Dick Messerly, ND CANDISC Tour Coordinator) "They'll get to see New Salem Sue this year and the Enchanted Highway and a number of attractions. We always try to feature some unique attraction in North Dakota on the tour."
This year the tour is 400 miles exactly, starting and ending in Garrison.
They will travel seven days --- any where from 25 to 82 miles a day.
(Dick Messerly, ND CANDISC Tour Coordinator) "It's just been a great way to show off North Dakota. We have a lot of people who come to North Dakota for a bicycle tour that would never come to North Dakota otherwise.
They come thinking that they're not going to see anything nice
In Garrison, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.
The CANDISC tour gives away 5 to 6 thousand dollars every year, as nearly all the registration money goes back to the communities that host them along the way.