Perkins, Oklahoma will serve as the halfway point for The Mid South, a bicycle race throughout Payne County and beyond. Perkins will welcome 1800 riders to town that day between 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. There will be a block party on Thomas St. downtown during that time, complete with live music and local food offerings to entertain the crowds. The Perkins community is encouraged to come down and show your support to these men and women competing. Let's show them what Perkins is all about!
"The time has come for change. Land Run 100 has come to an end. Welcome to The Mid South.
Land Run 100 has become so much more than a one day gravel bike race on some dirt roads in the middle of the country. In October of 2012, a handful of us from District Bicycles in Stillwater, OK put together a 100-mile route and invited our friends to come ride it. It seemed as if no one had been riding these roads. It felt like we had stumbled onto a secret, and we wanted to share this red dirt with anyone willing to come. The first year we had 121 riders from nine states and Canada, and we were pumped. What has happened over the years since still feels wild. This event has grown into a multi-day festival with live music, a 50k ultra run, a 50-mile ride, and the Double, all alongside the original 100-mile race. Friendships and deep connections have been built around this dirt road riding that will last a lifetime. I wanted this event to bring people together for a reunion of sorts. To celebrate, to laugh, to cry, and to experience this event together. Now, in 2020, close to 3,000 people are coming to experience these wild roads on foot and by bike together. I think about this event every single day. I want every person that comes here to feel a positive energy that is hard to describe. I want zero barriers to exist for a person to want to be a part of this experience. But there is a barrier, in the very name of the event, and it’s time to set it right. Without knowing anything about what occurred in 1889, I ignorantly named our event after the “Land Run” – the opening of the “Unassigned Lands” to settlement. Signs all over Stillwater speak of the Land Run of 1889, with one of them celebrating that this is “Where Oklahoma Began.” Moving to Stillwater from Kansas in 2011, I had never even heard of the Land Run. Using the name for our event seemed perfect, as these roads around Stillwater felt old, like they immediately transported a person traveling on them back to the time they were created. The Land Run, however, was one very public event in the long history of the US government displacing indigenous people. I’m working on learning about this history of genocide and the removal of Natives from this land we call home, and will be for a long time, but I know enough now to know that naming our race “Land Run” was a mistake. I am by no means an expert on our nation’s history and I am overwhelmed by what I have learned so far. Below are a few links to sources far more knowledgeable than I am.
It was never the goal for the race to be tied directly to the actual Land Run that opened settlement to non-Native Americans in Oklahoma. We didn’t intend to celebrate or reenact those events. Nevertheless, the name did immediately connect us to its history, and for that we are sorry. Along with the name, we are changing how the event will start by not using “Packy” the cannon from Oklahoma State University. This correlates to the start of the original Land Run where a cannon was also used. In an attempt to find the raddest and loudest object we could use to start the race we again, unknowingly, tied ourselves deeper to the past. We are changing the name and the way we start the event, but not the soul. This event belongs to all willing to give our time and energy to participate, organize, volunteer, or spectate. This event is not defined solely by its name, but more so by those so deeply invested in the continuation of it.
Names give definition to people, place, time, and events. The meaning and depth within a name can be simple and to the point, or full of references from the past and information not easily recognized by many. The way a name brings meaning to an individual depends on that person and their experience or relationship with said name. It’s easy to overlook the meaning of any name and possibly assume it’s something a person created without a lot of time and thought. It’s even easier to not be aware of how certain words or names may make others feel especially if their association with a name is different from ours.
The Mid South is a name that we can give our own definition to through our experiences on these deeply red roads. This new name is an evolution of all the ways this event has changed over the last 7 years. To me, The Mid South represents everything we’ve wanted to share since realizing how ridiculously good these roads are. This is our party. This is our place and time to be ourselves and to continue to invite others to join us. The Mid South is a place to get rowdy, to race, to finish, and to celebrate.
We must all strive to understand and to begin to see things through a lens other than our own. To stand underneath an object, to feel it’s weight, to see it from all sides and angles is to truly know what it is made of. Allowing ourselves to be immersed in the perception of others is difficult. It is incredibly important for us to realize that our perception is shaped by our experiences and is not the only reality that matters or exists. It is beautiful when we learn and when we are vulnerable enough to listen.
Moving forward, at the core of The Mid South is the raw feeling of being overwhelmed by this opportunity to experience the land around us on bike and on foot. Experiencing these roads together and in our own individual way is incredible and can change you. Come to race, come to ride, come to see friends, come to finish, and come to party. March will be here soon. I’ll see you at the finish line.