History of the Tour de Stooges
Co-founders Roger Kramer and Ken Kibort developed the idea for Tour de Stooges while marking routes for another ride in the St. Louis area. McKendree College agreed to be the host for the ride.
The first Tour de Stooges drew about 150 riders. The five routes were 9, 13, 19, 39 and 63 miles. The films were shown in McKendree's old gymnasium. T-shirts are offered.
About 250 people attended the ride. The films were moved inside Ames Hall, where the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet is served.
Attendance for the ride fell, partly because Roger Kramer, now the sole ride coordinator of the ride, tried to organize the ride while living in North Carolina. The ride was cancelled for 2000 because we were unable to maintain the quality of the event.
Roger Kramer moved back to Southwestern Illinois and decided to revive the ride in 2001.
The ride resumed with about 125 people in attendance. Tour de Stooges launches its first website in an effort to build interest in the ride.
Attendance for Tour de Stooges increased by 40 percent.
Tour de Stooges used online registration for the first time through Active.com; 25 people took advantage of the service. Online registration led to the first significant influx of riders from outside the St. Louis area. Routes of 13, 19, 30, 42 and 63 miles were instituted. About 250 people attended the ride, another increase of 40 percent.
By popular demand from participants in the 2003 ride, particularly from people outside the St. Louis area, T-shirts are offered. Online registration continued to take hold as 60 people used Active.com to sign up for the ride. Cold, damp and windy weather held attendance to about 150 people. Fresh fruit was served at the rest stops for the first time.
Nearly 500 people attended the Tour de Stooges, and 126 people signed up online through Active.com.
More than 500 people from 15 states — Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, Kentucky, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Tennessee and Washington — rode the Tour de Stooges. About 240 people signed up for the ride online.
Tour de Stooges celebrated its 10th anniversary, and about 700 people attended the ride. This would be the final time that McKendree, which changed its name to McKendree University in July 2007, would host the ride.
The Tour de Stooges moved to Lindendale Park in Highland, Ill. About 550 people attended the ride on a chilly, windy day with winds ranging from 15 to 25 mph.
Despite forecasts calling for up to an 80 percent chance of rain, 375 cyclists ignored the forecast and were rewarded with partly cloudy skies, no rain and little wind!
Even with competition from two other major St. Louis-area rides, the Tour de Stooges drew more than 450 cyclists in its third year in Highland.
The Tour de Stooges was presented by the Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society-St. Louis Cycling Club. About 450 people attended the ride.
With the help of 633 cyclists, the Tour de Stooges celebrated its 15th anniversary and its 5th year in Highland. The 633 participants were the second-largest crowd in Tour de Stooges history.
Following the passing of Tour de Stooges founder Roger Kramer in late 2012, the Tour celebrated its 16th anniversary and 6th year in Highland. There were about 400 participants.
The Tour de Stooges decided to regroup in 2014 and in place of a ride held a grand picnic to celebrate its 17th year at the park in Highland as the organization pondered the future of the ride. It was decided to seek out a new sponsor and the Ridge Prairie Trailhead Initiative was approached by the Tour de Stooges leadership and asked if they would assume sponsorship of the ride. Lebanon-based RPTI accepted and made the decision to move the ride back to its roots in Lebanon for 2015.
RPTI changed its name to Gateway East Trails (GET) to better reflect its mission and purpose. GET decided to add a 100-mile route to the existing route to give long distance riders another option to consider.
Tour de Stooges returned to McKendree University after a one-year move due to scheduling conflicts at the venue. The 20th Annual Tour de Stooges offered riders a limited edition riding jersey featuring the Three Stooges, the GET and TdS logos and an image of TdS founder Roger Kramer.
About 550 riders came out for absolutely beautiful spring weather. The ride raised enough to pay for about half of the current Trestle Trail project to connect Lebanon with a host of rural road routes that are friendly to bicyclists, runners and hikers.
A rainy start to the day, but about 500 riders braved what turned out to be a perfect day by mid-morning. Proceeds went to repair flood damage to the new Trestle Trail and to planning for the much more ambitious Trolley Trail link to O'Fallon, IL.