HUDSON — The 2019 Chicken Ride in Stafford County was a poignant day for the family and friends of the late Peggy Bauer.

For the 110 participants, this year’s ride had a significant sub-heading: the Peggy Bauer Memorial Ride.

Bauer, a longtime resident of Hudson, where the ride starts and ends, was one of the founders of both the event and the Hudson Bicycle Club, which sponsors it. She died of cancer Oct. 31, 2018. Her husband, Dean, and her sons, Scott Walter, Brent Walter and Jon Bauer, as well as a brother, Ken Spangenburg, helped with this year’s ride in her memory. Brent has designed the optional T-shirt for the ride for many years.

Since its inception, the ride has raised money to support community projects in Hudson.

In its first year, the Chicken Ride was called the Hay Ride. It had a small group of cyclists and featured numerous hay bales, which had been painted by area farmers. The event was later renamed to emphasize the hearty chicken dinner participants enjoy at the end of the ride each year.

The route for cyclists is a relatively easy ride, depending upon the weather, with no real hills and typically light traffic. It is a favorite for participants from around Kansas, nearby states and even as far away as Los Angeles.

While the chicken dinner with delicious desserts is highlight for most riders, what keeps many coming back are the people who volunteer, year after year, to help ensure that the Chicken Ride is a great experience for all. It is also great to see the familiar faces of fellow cyclists who regularly participate.

This annual event, in its 14th year now, is a deep rural experience and a great way to become acquainted with Stafford County and its rich agricultural heritage, natural beauty and wildlife.

Along the way, riders get acquainted with red-tailed hawks, great blue herons, red-headed woodpeckers, bobwhites or even a salamander. Some spotted a prairie dog or two, and there were hundreds of small, yellow butterflies at work in a field or two along the way.