Peddlers persuaded to stop in Vermillion Sunday

Peddlers persuaded to stop in Vermillion Sunday
They appeared as glowing orbs at first, carefully moving in straight lines or clusters down Vermillion's Main Street on a misty Sunday morning.

Few cars were on the street at that time, and the bikes being pedaled by the participants in the Argus Leader's Tour de Kota event in eastern South Dakota scarcely made a sound as they approached the city's downtown.

The quiet was interrupted by the din of a member of the Vermillion Lions Club, who stood outside of the Senior Center on east Main Street, banging a styrofoam plate to get the approaching bikers' attention.

He wanted them to make sure that pancakes and sausage fresh off the griddle and juice was waiting for them, served on makeshift wooden tables made of planks propped between sawhorses.

It was an offer too good for many bikers to refuse.

Vermillion rolled out its welcome map for Tour de Kota bikers taking part in the event's Discovery Ride, which included two routes through the community Sunday.

Local massage therapists were on hand to help any bikers suffering from aches and pains that morning.

The Vermillion Jaycees sold pop and water in front of Heartland Home Care on Main Street.

Heart & Soul also sold food and beverages and provided free water, facilities for warm up, restrooms, a wash-up area and bike parking.

Market Street Cafe served its regular menu items, and the Coffee Street Gallery offered brewed coffee, espresso, cold beverages, scones, muffins, sandwiches, and natural fruit and protein bars.

The Doo Wop Shake Shop served jet tea smoothies, Nathan's famous

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hot dogs, nachos, barbecued pork sandwiches and 30 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream.

Open Mike's served breakfast, and the Downtown Vermillion Action Team sold fresh fruit.

Parking was available at CorTrust Bank, Bank of the West and First National Bank.

The cooperative efforts of different factions of the Vermillion community were greatly appreciated by Patty Chamales, originally from Fort Pierre who now lives in El Paso, TX, who took part in the Discovery Ride accompanied by Keith Anderson and Andy Simmons, both of Sioux Falls.

Work obligations meant Keith could only participate in three days of the Tour de Kota. But Patty and Andy planned to bike the entire six day, 462 mile route, which is scheduled to end today in Milbank.

By the time Patty and her companions rolled into Vermillion, the drizzle had stopped. The sky was overcast, but no one was complaining about temperatures being too cool.

"I think all of us were really concerned yesterday about wind," she said. "We had gale force winds last night, but when we got up this morning, it was calm. Everybody is friendly, and your roads are good."

Patty has been a regular bike rider for 10 years now. She became a "serious biker" about 10 years ago, she said.

"It's meeting different people, it's going a different route, different weather, different terrain � that's why I like it so much," Patty said. "This morning we saw lots of rabbits; you don't see that in El Paso. And we saw some deer, and everything is green here."

People also participate, she said, simply because of the challenge of biking over 450 miles in approximately a week.

"You get to chat and talk to people, and you guys are very nice to host us," Patty said. "We've got to check downtown Vermillion now."

Paula Keller, a member of the Downtown Vermillion Action Team estimates that 250 bikers came through Vermillion Sunday morning.

"We were real pleased with the number of bikers who stopped here," she said.

Keller credits a collaborative effort involving community volunteers and the Downtown Action Team for the successful hosting of the Tour de Kota


"We had people from the Chamber of Commerce downtown, we had people from the Jaycees there, and it was a combined effort that made it a success Sunday," she said. "I think that's noteworthy."

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