“B.R.A.T.” is the adopted acronym for the 925-mile “Bike Ride Across Texas” that six Hardin-Simons University students and two instructors are currently undertaking.
They’re specifically calling this trip “BRAT-2” because its the trek’s second year.
These students, members of Hardin-Simmons University’s Leadership program, bicycled through Tilden Monday on the front end of a trip designed to help promote their school and general wellness.
Last year’s trek from El Paso to Texarkana was extremely successful in that regard, according to group members.
The trip generally takes place 10 days in May. This year, it’s May 10 through May 20.
The group raised funds to pay for trip expenses with help from BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas, Biketown, West Techs, Texas Martial Arts Center, Abi-Haus, Long Horn Steakhouse-New Braunfels and HSU Athletics. Plus, a few family members and friends kicked in some money.
On Monday, the students were heading through Tilden with a mission to bicycle all the way to Uvalde before bad weather made it impossible to continue.
“We started in Brownsville yesterday and hit Tilden today, but the weather has us thinking, ‘Go on to Uvalde,’” explained Aaron Henry, 19, group representative and a Hardin-Simmons freshman. “Usually, we average about 100 miles a day, but today we are shooting for over 200. It’s a little bit longer with the weather because we want to make sure we’re out of the way.”
This year, the group is traveling from Brownsville to the top of the Panhandle and beyond to Eden, Paducah, Wheeler and, ultimately, Liberal, Kansas.
Throughout the trip, members of the group will be using the ride as a media pulpit to discuss fitness and healthy living issues such as obesity prevention and exercise.
Publicity from the trip and conversations with newspaper, radio and television reporters make this possible.
Those in the group are using this experience to focus on developing leadership, organization and teamwork skills through planning, preparation and execution of the project, according to the group’s website statement.
Members of the group will ultimately make elementary school presentations about these issues in Abilene, where Hardin-Simmons is located. The event has attracted many sponsors, both individual and corporate.
The team is being hosted for evening stays throughout their trip at various places—First Baptist Church-Premont, Tilden Baptist Church, H-E-B Foundation Camps, First Baptist Church-Eden, First Baptist Church-Paducah, First Baptist Church-Wheeler, and First Baptist Church-Liberal.
“From south to north, we are out there,” Henry said during a brief interview in the Tilden area Monday.