Sunday, May 29, 2011


Editor's Note: My first Little Red experience was in 2005. I had been riding just a few months, training on an old, heavy mountain bike. I saw an advertisement for the Little Red Riding Hood - a women's only ride in the beautiful Cache Valley area and decided to try it with a friend. That first year I rode 68 miles (it nearly killed me!) and had such a fantastic experience that I was hooked. As time went on, I loved the ride so much that I wanted to become a part of the Little Red team. And so, over the years, I've volunteered in various ways to support this ride. During that time, I've had the great priveledge to meet the many outstanding and committed individuals who work so hard to pull off this event. From the Event's Director, Curt Griffin, to all the committee members who handle scheduling, permits, registration, transportaion, emergency services, radio operators, SAG support, food and berverages, volunteer coordinators, facilities, and on and on. Little Red Riding Hood is created, producted, and managed through an amazing team, all of them volunteers, who spend thousands of hours each year to bring this event to the community. And now I'd like to introduce you to the two lovely ladies who are at the very heart and soul of Little Red -

Penny Perkins and Lynda Forbush.

Lynda (left) & Penny (right) at LRRH 2009

Penny and Lynda are well known faces at Little Red. They've been riding the event for 16 years and have had a huge role in the growth,shape and tone of this event for the past 7 years. When they first started riding LRRH, about 80 women were involved. The ride grew slowly over the early years, with about 400 women riding in 2004, but really started taking off after 2005. That's the year Penny and Lynda became seriously involved. These two creative women had been planning and pulling off events for years. Whether in their bike club, community, family gatherings, or church functions - Penny and Lynda know how to plan and execute a party! Their professional backgrounds range from design (Penny designs and sews custom wedding gowns) to catering (Lynda's resume includes years spent as the Catering Director for the Marriott and has managed many large events), which blend beautifully together in envisioning and implementing Little Red Riding Hood. Having a friendship which spans back many years (they met in college and were roomates for a time), they find working together easy since they are 'in sync' in so many areas.
Hard at work in 2005. Southern Utah Tour for the Bonneville Cycling Club

Little Red has evolved over the years under the vision of these two ladies. Beginning in 2005, Penny designed the first Little Red jerseys while Lynda spruced up the event staging/finish line celebration. By 2007 full blown themes were really coming into creation, dressing the Wolf and Little Red up in costumes, a special drink for the ladies at the finish line and, as always, a gorgeous new jersey for each new Little Red year. 2007 was also the year they decided to include fundraising as a larger part of the Little Red event. 'The ride has so much potential to raise funds for cancer research; let it be a positive force for change'. That year was the first to include a silent auction, bike raffle, and the first Friday night celebration dinner/party. A trip down memory lane with Penny & Lynda includes:

Lynda and a LRRH fan admiring one of the many decorations in 2007

"2007.......In this version the wolf was in a tux on the front of the tandem serving our Little Red. We dressed the wolf up in a tux and served sparkling cider in champagne glasses at the finish line. This was really the first year for a true themed ride. We held our first Friday night dinner and expo before the ride. We had 1,700 riders for 2007! This was the first year we started the silent auction and raffled off bikes to make more money for cancer research."
"2008....Howdy there little ladies! LRRH went with a Wild West theme in 2008.....We wanted to expand our ride and welcome women from other parts of the country to the WILD 'RED' WEST. Little Red was all dressed up in country attire with the wolf tied up on the back of the bike. Entertainment included a western band at the Friday night Round Up and BBQ and we grew yet again to 2,400 riders."

Penny and her beloved dog Ralph, also a familiar sight at Little Red

"2009 - ALOHA! Our Hawaiian/luau themed ride. We capped the ride at 2,600 riders in this year and we filled up by April. The Friday night dinner was a Hawaiian Luau. We had a Hawaiian show including male fire dancers. The food tables were adorned with grass skirts and big bad wolves lounging in the sand drinking pina coladas. All the volunteers wore Hawaiian shirts and the finish line included tropical drinks with decorative straws and hot pink leis."
"2010 - Our Super Red/Super Hero theme. We capped the ride at a whopping 3,000 and filled up in just 29 days. We moved the entire Event to Lewiston and enjoyed the new,expanded location. The Saliva Sisters were on hand for the Friday night entertainment. We put the big bad wolf in a super wolf costume and Little Red (in drag) was in a Super girl costume. The volunteers were our SuperHeros.We saw plenty of 'Wonder Women' in costume up on stage and raised nearly $60,000 to donate towards cancer research."

Great fun with the SuperHero theme in 2010

"2011-  A 1950's Theme complete with:
The Big and Bad Wolf himself dressed in a black leather jacket and other bad boy 1950’s attire.
A 1950’s pink Cadillac to drive our wolf around the course during the ride.
A 1950’s style ice cream parlor for the finish line party
A live band with great Rock and Roll music!"

Penny with our amazing Event Director, Curt Griffin

What's next for Little Red? What are the challenges and plans for the future? Penny and Lynda both agree - the challenge is not to become complacent or take anything for granted. "We want to continue to stay the most desirable women's ride in the country and to continue to raise funds for cancer research. This event has tremendous potential to raise funds and we want to continue to be a positive, inspirational ride that women really love."

Be sure to look for Penny and Lynda at this year's Little Red - they are sure to be everywhere. They have spent literally thousands of hours over the years, all volunteer, in support of this ride. Please remember to say THANK YOU to them and to ALL the fantastic volunteers who work so tirelessly to make Little Red Riding Hood the event that we love and look forward to each year!