The 2nd Annual W100 Wounded Warrior Bike Tour is bringing the former commander in chief and veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to the second largest canyon in the country.
President George W. Bush will be joined this Thursday through Saturday by 20 servicemen and women who were injured while fighting for freedom overseas. They will mountain bike 100 kilometers through Palo Duro Canyon State Park on trails that will be closed to the public. The rest of the canyon will remain open.
President Bush began hosting the event last year, which took place in Big Bend Ranch State Park, and according to Texas State Parks, the choice to come to Palo Duro Canyon this year was no luck of the draw.
"From what I understand, President Bush, his skill level and his experience in mountain biking is such that he wants to go to places where it's challenging, where it's beautiful scenery," Bryan Frazier stated.
As with any trip taken by a president, security precautions have to be taken. Palo Duro Canyon has been under the radar for a while now.
"The Secret Service, they're the primary agency responsible for the president's safety and they've made several advanced trips and they're working diligently to provide protection and safety," Palo Duro Canyon State Park Superintendent Cory Evans said. "We also have several of our own Parks & Wildlife peace officers that will be working with security, as well, for all three days of the event."
Frazier pointed out the event will not only bring a former commander in chief to town, but also bring notoriety to the Panhandle's wonder
"Palo Duro Canyon is, as people in the Panhandle know, the second largest canyon in the US," he said. "But there's a lot of people outside of the Panhandle that may not be as familiar with that. So, to draw attention to not just what is there from a mountain biking perspective in Palo Duro Canyon, but it's a world-class destination."
Evans predicted the publicity of this event will spread the word about Palo Duro Canyon and bring more locals and tourists to the park.
"I would say that this is probably one of if not the highest profile visitor we've had to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Definitely, I think, we'll see an increase in visitation and put Palo Duro Canyon on the map."