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Big Sky Biggie gains traction and prestige

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22-year-old Tanner Visnick of Steamboat Springs, CO, stands atop the podium after winning the 50-mile Geared Male race division finishing the course in four hours and 16 minutes. PHOTO BY KIRBY GRUBAUGH

By Doug Hare EBS STAFF

BIG SKY — The Big Sky Biggie starting gates returned to Town Center Aug. 23-24 announcing a weekend  of mountain bike racing including a 50-mile course and a 30-mile course that showcased the continuously improving connectivity of the singletrack trail network surrounding Big Sky.

In only its second year, the Big Sky Biggie is quickly gaining a reputation as being one of the premier mountain biking races in Montana. Race Director Natalie Osborne said that by the numbers, 400 volunteer hours, 222 racers, 17 sponsors, 12 permits and land use agreements, three trays of bacon, two kegs and one bottle of whiskey all came together to make the event a success.

“The Biggie was grueling, mentally testing and exhilarating. It was the first time I have entered a bike race and it was a huge goal to go after. I’m super excited to have achieved what I set out to do,” said Chris Samuels after finishing the 50-mile course.

“This event would never be possible without the generosity and support of our community. And once again, in true Big Sky fashion, the community stepped up to help make the second annual Biggie a huge success!” said Osborne. “We had some challenges the week prior to the event, resulting in the painful decision to cancel the kids race on Friday night, so that we could focus on course safety.”

And they’re off! This year, the Big Sky Biggie races started in front of the The Wilson Hotel which opened in Town Center this summer. PHOTO BY KIRBY GRUBAUGH

Osborne was elated to report that once sponsors and families in Big Sky found out about the last-minute cancellation, they rallied to organize and execute the Juniors Short-Track Race despite the setbacks. “It was the most beautiful outpouring of generosity and rallying that I’ve ever witnessed,” Osborne said. “I was out setting the course for the following day, and could hear all the kids and parents from a couple of miles away. There were no major injuries and the weather was perfect. Anything is possible in Big Sky, it seems.”  

The third annual Big Sky Biggie is already on the calendar for Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. Osborne said that the Biggie will become part of a national mountain bike series next year, and she looks forward to being able to formally announce the partnership in a few months.The Big Sky Biggie was conceived as a fundraising non-profit event to benefit the Big Sky Community Organization. The event encourages riders of all levels to get out on the trail and have a successful day. whether it’s to place on the podium in their category, just finish the distance with enough steam to celebrate, or somewhere in between.

After covering costs, the excess funds raised are given back to support local trails for protection, maintenance and growth. Proceeds from this year will go to three organizations: Big Sky Community Organization, Big Sky Search and Rescue and Lone Peak Composite Team.

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