To all our Neighbors, Racers, and Adventure Chasers:
What is the Barbara Mansfield Champion Scholar Award?
As a Whitefish-native herself, and a former recipient of community-funded education award grants, our co-founder, Jess Cerra, is intimately aware of just how powerful the activation of others can be. With the Help of her high school guidance counselor, Mrs. Barbara Mansfield, and the money provided by donors, she overcame the hardships she struggled with growing up as a financially disadvantaged youth, and was able to pursue her goal of attending college.
In the same spirit of the generosity that afforded Jess the opportunity at a post-secondary education, we have established our Barbara Mansfield Champion Scholar Award program . Originally, the goal of the program was to provide 20 percent of our race proceeds in addition to any supplemental donations that we receive to two financially qualified women pursuing post-secondary education, one from the town of Whitefish and the other a black, indigenous, or woman of color. However, through the overwhelming support we have received from registrants and donors alike, we have been able to provide more than $20,000 to not two, but Four recipients from both whitefish high school and glacier High school, with more donations expected.
As professional competitors ourselves, we understand acutely how easy it is to retreat to the bubble of bike racing; to just pull through and pass through; to take in the sights and give little back. We hope to have popped that bubble by structuring our race such that simply signing up to participate means that you play a part in improving someone else’s circumstances.
The Barbara Mansfield Champion Scholar Award recognizes that champions come in many shapes and forms, including but not limited to athletic champions, champions for equal rights, champions of the arts or the environment. But no matter the cause, every champion has similar characteristics: courage, passion, strength, and persistence. Those qualities are not always innate. Champions can develop those characteristics as they overcome challenges and work to achieve goals.
Barbara Mansfield is a champion educator who pushed students to discover and develop their passions, skills, and academic potential throughout her career, which is why we named this champion scholar award after her.
We thank you all for your unwavering support of our cause and our efforts to give back to the community that plays such a wonderful host to the Last Best Ride.
The Last Best Ride
p/c: Eileen Blasi
Land Use Statement
As it stands now, these are our course routes. Should they need to be updated in the event of unexpected logging, National Forest Service maintenance emergencies, and/or natural occurrences (i.e. fires, tree downings), registered participants will receive an email update stating such.
We would like to convey the utmost gratitude to all local landowning Neighbors, Big Mountain Resort and Ski Whitefish, The City of Whitefish, The Montana Department of Transportation, Flathead County Department of Transportation, The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, The City of Whitefish, F. H. Stoltze Land and Lumber, and the local ranger districts of the U.S. National Forest Service for their unwavering help and support in getting these routes organized.