Emmitt Smith is combining his love of cycling with his passion for giving back to his community by hosting the inaugural Emmitt Smith Gran Fondo on Saturday September 17th. Gran Fondo means "big ride" in Italian.
"I think the bike race has given me an opportunity, not only to marry my passion for cycling— because I’ve become an avid cyclist over the last three years— it gives me a chance to make it [his charity work] much broader," Smith said.
He said his favorite thing about giving back to his community is seeing people rally behind a cause and transform young people’s lives.
"When you have an opportunity to affect a person in the most positive way possible, and you’re able to provide them with an opportunity that they might not otherwise get, and to see them take it and take advantage of it and go off and do something very special with it— it’s a beautiful thing," said Smith.
The ESGF will have cyclists leaving from the Rough Riders Stadium in Frisco and will take riders throughout several North Texas towns like Prosper, Celina, Pilot Point, and Aubrey.
There are four routes: the Gran Fondo, which is a 100-mile timed route with a $10,000 purse and $95 entry fee for a single rider; a 100k, which is a $65 entry; 45 mile that’s $65 to enter; a 22-mile route that costs $25, and a 2.2-mile family ride that is $22 to enter. You can also be a "virtual participant" for a $22 donation.
The inaugural event will include a post-race party with a beer garden, live entertainment, family activities, and awards ceremony.
All proceeds from the Emmitt Smith Gran Fondo go to Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, a 501c3 nonprofit charity that creates and funds unique experiences and educational opportunities for underserved youth.
"I think that’s what we are all called here to do is to— not only share our platform or share our talents— but also share our wisdom and experiences that we’ve had so others don’t make some of the same mistakes," said Smith. "If you have the opportunity to open the door for another person that’s what this is all about."
Since 2010, Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities has served more than 130,000 children and youth through dollars raised, providing education and unique experiences including new school uniforms and shoes for 3,000 students, new athletic wear and equipment for 500 students at two high schools, dental care and education for 400 elementary school students, college tuition for 24 students, unique experiences and mentoring for Team 22’s 20 students.
For more information on how to become a sponsor, please email RaceDirector@ejsmithenterprises.com.