Spectators at the 2011 Saint Francis Tulsa Tough races rallied around the women’s races and joined together to provide one of the largest crowd primes for a women’s race in the country. This year, the man behind the prime, Ron LeMieux, is working to offer the largest women’s crowd prime in the United States at Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. The race, set for June 8 to June 10, announced this challenge in a newsletter earlier this year.
Turns out he’s got some competition.
Organizers of the Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic heard about LeMieux’s goal for the 2012 Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, and decided to challenge the Tulsa race by also trying to raise the largest women’s crowd prime in the U.S.
According to those behind Saint Francis Tulsa Tough, “challenge accepted.”
“Saint Francis Tulsa Tough has always been a strong supporter of the women’s peloton. Last year the Brady Arts District crowd offered an $850 prime in the women’s pro race and we’re out to beat that in 2012. I’m glad to see OKC showing some love for the ladies, and hope the rest of the country will take notice of the quality cycling Oklahoma has to offer,” said Malcolm McCollam, executive director of Saint Francis Tulsa Tough.
The Oklahoma City Pro-Am Classic is set for June 2, 2012, only a week prior to Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. Organizers of both events hope the large women’s primes will attract additional professional female teams to enter both races and enjoy Oklahoma for a week.
“Saint Francis Tulsa Tough’s crowd does an incredible job of putting together a rather substantial prime for the women. We felt that by issuing the challenge it would provide the people of OKC another opportunity to be involved and get the crowd into the race,” said Chad Hodges, race director of the Oklahoma City Pro-Am. “We also hope to develop a friendly rivalry between the two races that not only encourages women’s racing but also takes it to a level not yet reached – putting the women’s payout at a level closer with the men’s.”
LeMieux, regional manager for Saris Cycling Group, is excited about this challenge from another race in Oklahoma.
“What a good year to be a woman racer in Oklahoma,” LeMieux said. “Our industry can do a better job of catering to both genders. My little sister and I have been helping with the crowd prime and Tulsa has gotten behind it. It’s great that OKC has now joined in the fun, and it’s all about Oklahomans supporting the women’s field of racers.”
Saris Cycling Group is supporting LeMieux in his quest for the largest crowd prime to be located in Tulsa. The company is offering LeMieux seed money to get the crowd engaged.
“My goal is to raise $1,500 this year for the women’s race at Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. The seed money from Saris will allow me to match anything the Tulsa crowd gives, and I’m happy to work for a company that’s supportive of efforts such as these,” he said.
More than 2 dozen women’s teams are expected to race in Oklahoma in June between these two events.
If you would like to show the Pro Women of Tulsa Tough some love while at the same time kicking some OKC butt, you can donate to the SFTT Pro Women’s Prime here.