Big BAM Ride, free concert coming to Hood Park on June 21

A large group of avid cyclists is expected to ride through Cuba on a cross-state trek along Route 66 this month. The Big BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri) border-to-border ride takes place June 17 through June 22, starting in Joplin and ending in Eureka. Cyclists will have an overnight stay in Cuba’s Hood Park on Thursday, June 21. Cuba is one of six cities along the route that will host bikers for overnight camping.

The Big BAM Ride is Missouri’s cross state bike tour and music festival along Route 66. Over five days of riding offers the experience of stunning hospitality in small towns, gorgeous roads, and incredible live music every night.

Big BAM starts on June 17 with a Gathering Day and Opening Ceremony at Joplin, followed by a first day of riding on June 18 and an overnight camp at Willard, followed by another day’s ride to Lebanon for an overnight stay, then a day’s ride to Waynesville on June 20 for an overnight camp. Bikers will ride into Cuba on June 21 and gather for camping at Hood Park, then conclude their cross-state run in Eureka on June 22, staying there overnight and departing on June 23.

Big BAM is not a race. There are no winners or losers in this ride. It’s a group ride for cyclists who want to tackle a long journey together across the state of Missouri. Bikers go at their own pace, departing and arriving at scheduled stops as they wish. Shuttle buses help with transportation from camping areas into town.

Musical entertainment has been scheduled at each of the overnight locations. At Hood Park in Cuba, Violet and the Undercurrents will perform on the Main Stage at 6 p.m. The live concert is free and open to the general public, and visitors are welcome to enter Hood Park and see all the bikes and meet and greet cyclists upon their arrival.

Violet and the Undercurrents are a Columbia, Missouri-based quartet anchored by the intrepid songwriting of Violet Vonder Haar and enriched by the creative energy of her musical counterparts. Raised in a small town at the edge of the Missouri River and nurtured by a thriving folk music-centered community, Vonder Haar started honing her craft as a songwriter, performer and vocalist at an early age. She was inspired by her father, a riverboat captain who introduced her to the music of folk legends and encouraged her as an artist. The band cites Local Natives, Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan, Billie Holliday, and St. Vincent as influences on their sound.

Everyone is invited to come out to Hood Park on June 21 to hear the live band play. Bring lawn chairs for seating. Refreshments will be sold on site, as St. James Winery and Public House Brewing Company are sponsors of the 2018 Big BAM Ride.

Cyclists wishing to make the Route 66 run can still register online at bigbamride.com or at the Big BAM Facebook page. You can join the group for the whole week or just for a couple of days.

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