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Rain Dampens Bodies, but Not Spirit at Record-Setting Bike & Hike

Despite steady rain that cancelled portions of the 22nd annual COBYS Bike & Hike, Sunday, September 9, was a bright day for COBYS Family Services.

More than 200 supporters walked three miles through the streets of Lititz in a steady downpour. The route was revised to avoid a soggy Lititz Springs Park. By the end of the day donors had established a new income record of more than $142,000 for COBYS ministries. The figure is an increase of more than $5,000  from last year and may still grow.

“We knew the weather would impact attendance,” said COBYS Director of Development Don Fitzkee, “but we weren’t sure about income. We were thrilled that people gave so generously. It was a great day!”

The increase in income marked the 20th consecutive year of growth for COBYS’ signature fundraiser. Since its inception, the Bike & Hike has raised more than $1.4 million for COBYS ministries.

In addition to the walk, the event usually includes two bicycle rides and a motorcycle ride, all staged from the pavilion at the Lititz Church of the Brethren. The rides were cancelled due to a flood advisory, and the event was moved inside to the church fellowship hall.

“We were really grateful that the church could accommodate us inside on short notice,” said Fitzkee. “It made for a much more pleasant afternoon.”

A number of would-be riders walked instead, or came to donate and pick up a t-shirt. In addition to 210 walkers, many others stopped in for fellowship, ice cream, or to bid on the Silent Auction that ran throughout the afternoon. Total attendance was estimated at 350, down from 601 people who walked or rode last year.

Taking the weather in stride, planners jokingly changed the event name to “COBYS Soak & Hike” and Fitzkee encouraged participants to “make memories” as they trudged through puddles. He later joked that although participation was down, the event established a new “indoor attendance record.”

Keith & Lisa Reinhart, owners of the Lampeter Café, cheered bedraggled walkers by setting up an impromptu coffee and hot chocolate station. (Someone suggested that serving hot drinks was their excuse to not have to walk in the rain, and Keith did not deny it.)

Contributing to the day’s success was record business support. More than 100 businesses provided cash or in kind donations of auction items, door prizes, or food and supplies. Cash sponsorships from businesses exceeded the last year’s amount by $11,000 and the previous best by $6,000. The auction generated $4,921, nearly $1,000 more than last year. Bringing top price at $440 was a custom Philadelphia Eagles-themed cornhole game made by Craig Snyder and donated by Galen & Nancy Shenk.

Participants pay a registration fee and/or raise money from sponsors. Mari Cunningham established a new individual fundraising record with total pledges of $12,525. Other top fundraisers were Floy Fitzkee, $6,685; Londa Brandt, $5,810; and Lucy de Perrot, $3,900.

Four Church of the Brethren youth groups earned gym and pizza nights by raising at least $1,500. They were: Little Swatara, $10,462; Mohrsville, $5,031; Mountville, $1,972; and West Green Tree, $1,556.

At the end of the day Fitzkee thanked the crowd for their friendship and support during his 17 years as Director of Development, acknowledging that he recently had announced his resignation and would not be handing out door prizes next year. The crowd expressed appreciation for his service with a standing ovation.

Photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page.

Haven’t paid your Bike & Hike pledge yet? Go here.

COBYS is grateful to additional sponsors who helped make Bike & Hike a success. Click here to view a full list.


Special Thanks to Our Business Sponsors
































Balsbaugh Insurance Agency
Ebersole Brothers Construction, Inc.
ELA Group, Inc.
Engle Printing & Publishing Company
Four Seasons Produce
Homestead Nutrition, Inc.
J.B. Zimmerman
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Lancaster Salvage
Longenecker’s True Value & Appliances
The Country Store, LLC
Unruh Insurance Agency, Inc.
Wenger & Company PC

Grand Prize Donors
Bob Neff Tours, Inc.
Giant Food Stores
Sight & Sound Theatres

Lititz Church of the Brethren

Crystal Springs Water Company
Garman Builders
Hess Brothers Fruit Company
John Herr’s Village Market
Keystone Pretzels
Smith’s Candies

Silent Auction Donors
Blatt’s Service & Fabrication
Blue Ridge Communications
Body & Soul Reflexology
Cindy Umberger
Cocalico Automotive, Inc.
Don & Carolyn Fitzkee
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster
Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Esbenshade’s Garden Centers
Fillmore Container
Fox Meadows Creamery & Country Market
Foxchase Golf Club & Banquet Facility
Galen & Nancy Shenk
Go N Bananas
Good’s Store
Henry Faus
The Hershey Story
James & Pamela Ament
James Wenger
Jean Leininger
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Mark & Mari Cunningham
McElroy Pharmacy
Merv & Bonnie Wampler
Morr Indoor Range & Training Center
Outback Toys
Primitives by Kathy
S. Clyde Weaver
Shuey’s Pretzels
Smith’s Candies
Wenger Foundation, Inc.
Wilbur & Judy Rohrer

Door Prizes
Blue Ridge Communications
Choo Choo Barn
Cocalico Automotive, Inc.
Country Barn
Esbenshade’s Garden Centers
Goodville Mutual Casualty Company
Home Depot
Kauffman’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant
Keller Brothers Auto Company
Landis Valley Associates
Oregon Dairy
Peaceful Valley Furniture
Refreshing Mountain Retreat & Adventure Center
Reist Popcorn Company
Rocky Springs Entertainment Center
Shuey’s Pretzels
Smith’s Candies
Stauffers of Kissel Hill
Tangles Salon
Umberger’s of Fontana
Village Greens Golf, Inc.
Zig’s Bakery & Café