When John Hatherly turned 50, his family celebrated with a bike ride.
Only this particular bike ride not only honored him and his love of cycling but also benefited Waupaca High School graduates by providing scholarships.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, the John Hatherly Mid Century Ride Waupaca will be held again, offering cyclists the opportunity to bike anywhere from 12 to 100 miles as they raise money for local scholarships.
“I thought it’d be a fun thing to do,” Christina Hatherly said in explaining how she came up with the idea to celebrate her husband’s 50th birthday that way.
The couple lives in Illinois with their two children.
John and Christina are cyclists who bike in Illinois but especially love riding around Waupaca.
The family spends time here each summer.
John was a student at Notre Dame the first time he visited the area. Eventually, he purchased a place on the Chain O’ Lakes.
“He has everything. He doesn’t need everything,” Christina said.
As his 50th birthday approached, she knew what she wanted to give him as a gift.
When asked why they decided to have the bike ride benefit graduates of Waupaca High School rather than students closer to their home in Illinois, Christina said, “This is where we enjoy cycling the most. Our whole extended family has done the (Waupaca Area) Triathlon the last 11 years. It just seemed like the logical place.”
There is a reason why they chose to raise money for scholarships.
John is one of six children.
He went to Notre Dame on a full track and field scholarship and wanted to give back.
The couple met with principals at Waupaca High School, who then turned the school end of it over to Dale Feldt.
Feldt teaches math at WHS and is the adviser of both its National Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions chapters.
Students from both groups volunteer at the event.
Feldt helps set up the signage.
Participants choose how many miles they want to bike.
All of the multiple distances begin and end at the high school, with the flower-petal design allowing them to build their distance.
Those who want to bike 100 miles do two loops of the 50-mile course.
Feldt said they thought they might raise about $1,000 the first year.
However, $20,000 was donated to the scholarship fund the first year and $30,000 the second year.
In its third year, the ride contributed $40,000 in scholarships to the WHS Class of 2013, he said.
Those interested in information about the scholarship should contact the high school’s guidance office.
Feldt said in addition to the registration fee, the couple receives corporate sponsors.
Ride Waupaca provides the Hatherly National Honor Society Scholarship, Hatherly Cross Country/Track Scholarship, Hatherly Math Scholarship and Hatherly Military Service Scholarship.
Feldt said the intention of John and Christina Hatherly was to give track and field scholarships. The other scholarships were added after the first year.
Christina said John was surprised when she presented the idea to him and wondered how they would pull it off.
“We have a wonderful race coordinator who puts together events,” she said.
A non profit was formed, and Feldt assists on this end.
Feldt’s wife Mary, who teaches physical education at Waupaca Learning Center, helps with the promotion of it.
“It’s a ride, not a race,” she said. “There are so many nice places to bike.”
This year’s ride
Saturday’s ride begins at Waupaca High School.
There is a rolling start from 6:30-7:30 a.m. for those biking 50 miles or more. All riders should be on the course from 6:30-8:30 a.m.
People may go to www.321goevents.com to register for Ride Waupaca. The cost is $20. The organizers prefer people register online.
Those who register on site will pay $25.
Packets for the ride may be picked up at the high school from 3-6 p.m. Friday and from 5:30-8 a.m. Saturday.
Participants will receive ride bags, which will include a lime green T-shirt, energy bars and other items.
There will be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit at the rest stops. Waupaca County Dairy Promotions will be donating chocolate milk, Mary Feldt said.
Since it is a charity ride, the course will be open to traffic. First aid supplies and SAG services will be available to cyclists.
Those interested in volunteering may call 715-258-7744.
Last year, about 80 people participated.
Christina said many of them were family members.
John and Christina’s 12-year-old daughter will bike 20 miles this year, and their 8-year-old son will bike 12 miles.
“It’s a nice way to share our love of biking and Waupaca,” Christina said. “We love it.”
She describes it as a low maintenance event and encourages area residents to bike with them.
“We’ve been blessed with nice weather,” Christina said. “We encourage people to participate and thank the whole community of Waupaca.”