The Pole Pedal Paddle will continue its long run in Central Oregon — not that there was ever much doubt.
Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation announced Friday that SELCO Community Credit Union would be the new title sponsor for the popular multisport event.
The event was in need of a main sponsor after U.S. Bank decided not to renew its title sponsorship after 39 years.
Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation — which offers youth programs in skiing, snowboarding and cycling — announced U.S. Bank’s withdrawal last week and quickly heard from several financial institutions interested in sponsoring, according to MBSEF events director Molly Cogswell-Kelley.
But SELCO, which operates five branches in Central Oregon, stood out as an Oregon-based company that understood the value of the PPP to Central Oregon.
“There’s always uncertainty,” Cogswell-Kelley said Friday. “I was really happy to get the call from (SELCO) as soon as the press release went out. I got a lot of interest.”
The PPP — the largest fundraiser for MBSEF — started with about 60 participants in 1977 and grew steadily over the years. The 41st PPP, staged in May, included more than 2,500 entries. The 42nd annual race is set for May 19, 2018.
The PPP includes teams, pairs and individuals competing on a course from Mount Bachelor to Bend that consists of a downhill ski run, a 5-mile nordic ski, a 22-mile bike ride, a 5-mile trail run, a 2-mile paddle on the Deschutes River and a half-mile sprint to the finish.
According to Cogswell-Kelley, SELCO’S three-year commitment includes $55,000 in 2018 and $50,000 in both 2019 and 2020.
“As an Oregon-based credit union that has been serving Central Oregon for nearly two decades, the opportunity to become title sponsor of the region’s single-greatest community sporting event was one that SELCO could not pass up,” said Mike Stanley, SELCO’s Central Oregon area manager, in Friday’s press release. “There is no other event in Central Oregon that defines this community the way the PPP does, and we’re proud to be part of what will be known as the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle for years to come.”
Shortly after U.S. Bank announced that it would be ending its sponsorship, Cogswell-Kelley said she received an inquiry from SELCO’s vice president of commercial and business banking, Mike Donaca. As a youth, Donaca was a ski racer for MBSEF before being coached by PPP founder Jenny Sheldon at Bend’s Mountain View High School, according to Cogswell-Kelley. He also volunteered at the PPP in its early years.
“I did get contacted by other financial institutions, but it was nice they could be so quick about making a decision,” Cogswell-Kelley said of SELCO. “He (Donaca) understands the value and what it means to the community. They’re in it for the long term, and they are Oregon-based.”
For more information on the PPP, visit www.pppbend.com.
— Reporter: 541-383-0318,