The 21st annual Cow Creek Country Classic bike is expected to bring more than 1,200 cyclists to Ellis County Saturday with riders participating in one of six routes along Ellis County roadways.

Sponsored by the Waxahachie Rotary Club, the annual bike ride has raised more than $300,000 for community projects since its inception.

“This is the club’s primary fund-raiser — and has been for the past 21 years,” said Don Wilson, a Waxaha-chie Rotarian helping coordinate the event.

“The main message we want to get out to everyone is to be aware, be courteous and share the road. This event brings a lot of people to our community. It also brings a lot of dollars that the club has been able to use to help fund major quality of life projects for our community,” Wilson said.

In addition to building the Scout Cabin on Brown Street, the bike ride has enabled the Rotary Club to fund projects benefiting the community at Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie, Ellis County Habitat for Humanity and the Gingerbread House Children’s Advocacy Center, to name a few.

“Always, our primary concern is safety,” Wilson stressed. “If you see cyclists, please, share the road and be patient. They are only here for a day.”

The Cow Creek Country Classic consists of six different rides, ranging in length from a short, scenic in-town route to the marathon 100-mile route. Other routes include a 19-mile course, 36-mile course, 46-mile course and a 75-mile route.

Rotary Club volunteers will also be staffing rest stops along all the routes allowing riders to grab refreshments and take a break.

“We also have members who will be following the riders in vehicles in case anyone needs assistance,” Wilson added.

If anyone would like to participate in this year’s event, Wilson said it’s not too late to register.

Riders may sign up this evening from 6-9 p.m. at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy, or from 6-7:30 a.m. Saturday morning at the same location.

Registration fees are $25 per person, although there are discounts available for families and organizations.

All routes will begin and end at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy on Indian Drive with staggered starts scheduled throughout the morning. The first group (the 100-milers) will depart at 7:30 a.m. sharp.

Wilson stressed the event is not a race — it is a ride, with many families enjoying the scenic Ellis County ride with their children.

“We always have a lot of children taking part — mostly on our shorter-routes. That’s yet another reason for all of us motorists to be extra cautious when we’re out driving on Saturday. There are going to be a lot of bike riders on the road.”

Riders that have already registered may pick up their event packets this evening beginning at 6 p.m.

“What’s really exciting is that we’re on a near record pace for pre-event registration,” Wilson said. “If the weather holds out for us, we could have 1,400 - 1,500 riders Saturday based on how our pre-registration has tracked in the past. The past several years we’ve been averaging about 1,000 riders.”

For more information on the event, visit the club’s Web page at www.cowcreekcountryclassic.com.