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Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club prepares for its 40th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Roll bicycle rally

Ready to Roll!

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In 1982, then president of the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club Joe Holland said they needed a fundraising project. Having an extensive background in bicycles, Holland suggested a bicycle rally. As runners have “Turkey Trots” for Thanksgiving, the name “Turkey Roll” was suggested for this event.

Holland says about 100 people participated in the very first Turkey Roll in 1982. Last year, the Kiwanis Club had its largest ride to date with about 1,000 bicyclists.

“We’d like to think that we would be in the neighborhood of 1,000 people again this year,” Holland adds.

Through the Turkey Roll, the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club is able to continue its mission of serving the children of Denton and the world.

Serving the Children of Denton

Since its start in 1960, Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club is a service club focused on providing leadership opportunities for high school students.

“The work that we do is all volunteer, so the more volunteers that we have, the more people that we can count on to do more work in the community,” Holland says. “And that’s the whole point of the Kiwanis Club — serving the children of the local community and … around the world.”

Denton Turkey Roll
Credit: Wendy Haun

In addition to participating in a variety of volunteer projects throughout the year, members of the club support a number of Key Clubs at high schools in the city of Denton.

“(A) Key Club is the Kiwanis presence on high school campuses,” Holland explains. “We have a Key Club at Denton High School, Ryan High School, and Guyer High School. Each one of those clubs has 60 to about 100 members. They do projects to benefit their school and the community, and they help us tremendously in a variety of projects, especially the Turkey Roll.”

According to Holland, the annual Turkey Roll helps the club raise funds for the Key Clubs they sponsor. The money goes to paying the Key Clubs’ Kiwanis International sponsorship, as well as funds for the community projects they do throughout the year.

One of those community projects is the Tiny Libraries program, where Key Club members built and distributed little wood libraries in different locations in Denton. “We have filled them full of books … People can come and take a book (or) take several books,” Holland explains. “If they want to bring them back, that’s fine. If they want to keep them, that’s fine, too. The point is to provide books for children, especially during the summer when they don’t have access to the school library.”

2022 Turkey Roll

Denton Turkey Roll
Credit: Wendy Haun

Speaking of the Turkey Roll, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the bicycle rally, which will be held Saturday, November 19th starting at 9:00 am. This year’s rally will start at the new Denton High School on Bronco Way.

Also this year, participants can choose from one of four different mileage routes — 29, 39, 52, or 68 miles — depending on their riding level and ability.

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Holland says the shortest 29-mile route goes to the west side of Lake Ray Roberts. “The long (68-mile) course goes into Cook County — it crosses Lake Ray Roberts five times as far north as Valley View, and then comes back in from there,” he details.

“Then the two other routes are somewhat in between,” Holland continues. “The 52 (mile ride) goes just short of Valley View. And the 39 (mile ride) goes east over Lake Ray Roberts into Pilot Point and meanders back through the horse country of Pilot Point and Aubry.”

Maps of all four courses can be viewed on the club’s website.

Denton Turkey Roll Map

Although the bicycle rally starts and finishes in Denton, Holland says they get participants not only from Denton County but even from other states including Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. “(If) they’re visiting grandmother for Thanksgiving, they’ll see the Turkey Roll, and they’ll bring their bike and then ride while they’re visiting grandma,” he adds.

And Holland says riders range from avid cyclists to families who enjoy bicycling together. “We’ll have people that maybe haven’t ever done a bicycle rally, and then we’ll have people who’ve done a number of rides, including the Turkey Roll,” he explains. “We’ll have people that have ridden with us for 20 and 30 years.”

Regardless of where you are on your bicycle journey, Holland encourages everyone to bring their bike and join this year’s Turkey Roll.

“Ride as far as you are able to ride safely, and then come tell us about your experience at the Celebration Station after the ride,” he says. “(The Turkey Roll is) always the Saturday before Thanksgiving so people are already in a holiday spirit when they get there. We’re just hoping that we can start the Thanksgiving festivities a week early and get you on your bicycle.”

The 2022 Turkey Roll bicycle rally will take place Saturday, November 19, 2022, at 9:00 am, starting at the new Denton Bronco High School at 3001 Bronco Way in Denton.

Information, including registration rates and cut-off dates, as well as maps of all four routes.  And follow the 2022 Turkey Roll on Facebook for more updates.

The Denton Breakfast Kiwanis Club meets every Wednesday morning at 7:00 am at Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q, 520 S I-35 Frontage Rd E in Denton. For more information, visit dentonbreakfastkiwanis.org.

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