When the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic rolled through Centralia College on July 12-13, crowds were drawn to the music, food, and high-energy fun of the annual 200-mile bike race.
For 10 years, Centralia College has been the central stop along the route, providing riders and race fans a needed respite from the heat and a chance to connect with each other over a cold beverage.
For the college, the relationship is a rewarding one. This year, STP garnered more than $40,000 for Centralia College’s athletics programs. The college raised money by providing showers, renting overnight accommodations and RV sites on campus, collecting sponsorships and vendor fees, serving the annual breakfast, and hosting the beer garden.
With more than 10,000 cyclists and an estimated 8,000 family, friends, and race supporters on campus in those two days, the event is a major boon for the athletics programs. More than 200 volunteers, including all Centralia College athletes, did everything from washing and folding towels to serving food to directing traffic.
It’s a huge effort to coordinate such an event, but the results are worth it, said Steve Ward, Centralia College’s vice president of finance and one of the key organizers of STP on campus.
“This was our tenth year and, honestly, it was our best year,” he said. “All the riders, everyone, has been raving about how well it went and how much fun they had. It came together perfectly and we were able to raise $40,000 for our athletics programs.”
The hard work isn’t over, however. Organizers have already been meeting about the 2015 STP.
To learn more or to see photos from each year, visit stp.centralia.edu.