Rough and rugged mountain bike trails welcomed George W. Bush and veterans from all over the country to Palo Duro Canyon Thursday.
Cheers rang out as the president made his appearance. After words of thanks, encouragement and the national anthem, Bush and veterans who have been wounded in battle began the 100 kilometer ride through the nation's second largest canyon.
Rest stations gave the bikers the chance to take a break and chug some water, which was well-needed as the temperature in the canyon rose to 91 degrees. After the first part of the ride was completed, Bush made his way from veteran to veteran once again offering them thanks and smiles.
The veterans competing had suffered injuries anywhere from severed limbs to crushed bones to post-traumatic stress while fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. But those challenges did not hold them back as they conquered some of the Panhandle's toughest trails.
And it seems the Panhandle made quite an impression on some of the veterans- many of them talked about how beautiful the area is. Some even said they would like to move here.
All in all, it appeared Day 1 of the event was a success, and not just because it finished shortly before the rain hit. Big trails, a big name and big sacrifices were today's highlights- apparently, everything really is bigger in Texas.
"I'm pleased to see all the volunteers out here from the community," Bush stated. "They're awesome people and it's an honor. Oh, it's good. Yeah, that's why we do it- so we can be with the veterans. It's an uplifting experience."
Click here for more information on the W100 Wounded Warrior Bike Ride.