Shellabration Celebrates Cyclists

Lisa Kunkel

The annual PEAKS to Conga bike ride was a success this year with a record number of riders, 152. In its 11th year, the fundraiser and outdoor event brought people together from the mountain west region for a day of fun, music, and food – all for a good cause. 

For the annual ride from Cody to Shell, “the weather was perfect,” said organizer Laurie Parker, of Shell. An auxiliary of St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation, their acronym stands for People Everywhere Are Kind and Sharing. 

A highlight for this year’s ‘Pedal to Kick Cancer to the Curb’ was, “Karen Allen from the original Conga group riding her bicycle all the way from Cody to Shell and she is a cancer survivor,” said Parker.

Most riders make the trip solo, but this year a local group brought back the Conga with a team of riders making up a team from Shell’s The Hideout Lodge and Guest Ranch. In her sixth year riding in the event, Melanie Hirshfeld took the helm in organizing her coworkers including, April O’Neal, Josh Hill, Laurel Nelson, and Laura Elser. “We conga’d,” said Hirsheld with an ear-to-ear grin, “really fun, good team building.”

First year rider O’Neal said the ride was great, “started a little chilly but it warmed up.” 

Deany Delaney, who lives between Greybull and Shell along Highway 14, was outside working in her garden Saturday morning when she heard a loud, “mom.” Running the edge of the hill she saw her daughter Tavell Peete, of Billings, cruising down the road on her bike headed to Shell. Peete, who started riding about a year ago, said the ride was long and she was “incredibly grateful for all the toilets.”

The 66 mile ride is fully supported, with expert help, water, food, and of course toilets. 

However the highlight was not the commodes, but the bacon. 

The ‘SAVE YOUR BACON STATION’ is the last aid station at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite turn-off near Shell. It is manned by Kent and Tina Johnson of Greybull and Mike Saldana of Basin. “They love frying up the bacon on site and cheering on the riders,” said Parker. “It is hands down all of the cyclist's favorite station.” 

The fat and protein mixed with a bit of pain killing beverage gets the riders right down to the finish line. “The volunteers' enthusiasm is catching and they go above and beyond our expectations every year,” said Parker. 

For the Shellabration after the ride, “There were lots of people here that were not cyclists,” said Parker, “and I know that it was busy enough for all of the food served by 307 Pizza and the Shell Valley Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary to be sold out.” 

Organizers even had massage therapists, yoga instructors, art vendors, and musicians in the park to ease and soothe rider’s aches and brighten the countenance of all. Plus the mainstay Old Shell Store’s popular burgers, confections, and sundries. 

“I would like to thank the musicians: J.D. Kunkel and friend Clint Dack, the Greg Prows group, Angela Botzer, and Jane Bell for donating their time to share their talent with all of us.”

“Katie Switzer and her petting zoo was a hit with all age groups as well as Brianna Laird's face painting talents. “It truly is a gift that so many donate their time and talents every year,” said Parker. 

The Melvin beer representative was on site and gave away beer to all who were interested until it was gone. “People loved it and Derek's presence added even more great energy to the event,” said Parker. 

The day wrapped-up with music by Rattlesnake Ridge and a silent auction in the Shell Community Hall which helped to raise monies to support locals going through Cancer. “I don't have all of the numbers in yet but I am certain that we will net around 35K,” said Parker. 

What made the event different from past years was the surprise cattle drive which ran along Highway 14 for a few miles before diverting down Trapper Creek Road. Cyclist Molly Moore, of West Yellowstone, was riding in her second year and said, “It was awesome. I had no idea this would happen to me,” she said of the bovine companions along her bike route, “it was great.” 

As a wrangler chased a piqued calf through bikers and pedestrians in Shelltown Saturday morning, one truly felt the authentic Wyoming experience. Mark your calendars for next year, June 25th for this family friendly event.