Five local girls ages 10-13 will host the second annual Wheels for Wheels Bike-A-Thon to benefit the Jaycees’ all-abilities park.

The event will take place Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rotary Riverfront Trail in Downtown Washington. It is open to people of all ages.

Participants may come at any time during the event and can ride whatever length and time they would like.

Students organizing the event include Sophie Straatmann, 11, St. Francis Borgia Grade School; Maggie Westhoff, 10, St. John’s-Gildehaus; Justine Huellinghoff, 13, Washington Middle School; Britney Harriman, 11, Our Lady of Lourdes; and Ellie Scheer, 13, New Haven R-II.

Three of the five organizers have siblings who will directly benefit from the park, including Straatmann.

“My sister really inspired me to do this for the park,” Sophie Straatmann said. “The park will mean a lot to me and my family.”

Sophie said that because her sister couldn’t do many of the park activities, the family would end up leaving after only a few minutes.

“It will mean a lot that we can all play together (at the all-abilities park),” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to seeing people have fun and be a part of the event.

Sophie’s mom, Julie, said she’s very proud of her daughter.

“It makes my husband and I so proud that Sophie brought up this idea and wanted to make a difference in not only her sister’s life, but in the lives of many children we see and have made friends with,” Julie Straatmann said. “We’re just beaming proud.”


Those who enter the bike-a-thon by April 25 will get a T-shirt. Participants do not need to be registered to ride, just to get the T-shirt.

Anyone who raises at least $20 will have their name entered into a drawing for various prizes.

The person who collects the most will receive four Red Bird Club Cardinals tickets in an air-conditioned area behind the general seating for the July 4 game.

Last year, the top fundraiser collected $150.

This year’s goal is $6,000. Last year, the event brought in more than $5,000.

The girls have received sponsorships from 10 area businesses and are promoting the event at their schools and around Washington.

“They’re really trying to spread the word within their own schools and friends and trying to get people to attend and raise a little money,” Julie Straatmann said.

Students wishing to register can pick up registration forms at their school office or visit

Forms can be dropped off at the post office in Downtown Washington or mailed to the Washington Jaycees, P.O. Box 6, Washington, MO 63090.

More details about the event, including information in case of inclement weather can be found on facebook.