My name is Rachel Cox, and while this story starts out about me it truly is about WE!
I have worked in the nonprofit community for almost two decades and got my start as the first Director of a teen center here in Rogers almost 20 years ago - since then I have worked as a CEO for nonprofits combating homelessness, hunger, poverty, and other issues our community unfortunately faces all too often.
Most recently, I joined as the new Executive Director for an amazing organization called Dress for Success NWA, and you can read more about them - www.dfsnwa.org
The great outdoors is where I have always found serenity and compassion for self and others. I also LOVE the foodie scene here in Northwest Arkansas! The vibrant representation of cuisine and robust offerings of our local eateries is impressive... combine that with our trail infrastructure and just WOW!
Throughout the course of my career in building nonprofits, I have been fortunate to plan many cycling events with the support of incredible community members and phenomenal outdoor and cycling enthusiasts.
WE have been able to raise over $600,000 throughout the last 20 years in cycling fundraising events for several local nonprofits and causes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many nonprofits faced fundraising challenges with events having to come to standstills. That is when I reached out to some of my old cycling buddies and the wheels began turning on what WE now know as... Tour de Tacos!
This concept came to creation as I began making Facebook posts asking who might be interested in helping me put on a charity ride... and like our community always does - one old friend from high school mentioned another old friend from high school - and then I was connected to Melissa King Williams who at the time was working for a local bike shop. WE met for coffee and began plotting out ideas for combining food and cycling - and she blurted out TACOS! I exclaimed - TOUR DE TACOS!! AND BOOM - 4 months later, 70 volunteers, 600 cyclists and 8 Taco Stops -- our first Tour de Tacos was born. WE ALL DID IT!
The next year WE were inundated with people asking us to add more of these events, so I thought how about BBQ and cycling? AND Tour de BBQ was born! The owners of Lewis and Clark were always incredibly supportive of all my wild ideas throughout the years, and traditionally allowed me to use their store as our start and finish line space. However, their Rogers store shutdown this year after the pandemic's toll. We thank them for always being supportive and know they will bounce back!
These rides have always been collaborative with all the NWA bike shops, but this year we are able to really expand that even further, and now these events are drawing 1000s of cyclists from over 14 states and 3 countries. Our first 3 rides in 2020 and 2021 raised almost $100,000 for local charities.
WE enjoy different mileages, great food, and amazing community all on the beautiful Razorback Greenway Trails! WE cannot wait to see how these rides will continue to make an impact going forward! WE - you, me, the community together WE can do great things!
Tony has not only been the Event Chair since year one, but he is also my partner in real life! I am grateful he supports all my crazy endeavors!
Rachel Cox, Founder/Event Director
Tony Brewer, Event Chair
Travis Kegans, Springdale Bike Club
Morgan Lindsey, Springdale Bike Club
Brent Flanagan, FLO BikeWear
Anh Parker, Walmart
Jacqueline Freymark, Pepsico
Deb McCleod, OZ Misfits
Lindsay McBurnett, Atlas
Noah Collins, Visit Bentonville
Aaron Mullins, Visit Bentonville
JC Pruden, Pruden Construction