Bend’s newly crowned “Butte Dude” wants you to take the Pilot Butte Challenge

George Pierce (center) feels the burn of Central Oregon altitude during the 2016 Pilot Butte Challenge, his very first race in Bend.

Pilot Butte has a new best friend.

Just a couple of weeks after moving to Bend in September 2016, George Pierce and his two teenage children, E.G. and Ellie, found themselves in a lung-busting race to the top of Bend’s unmistakable 479-foot local landmark. Last year’s Pilot Butte Challenge was their first time experiencing competition at nearly 3,700 feet of elevation. Somehow, all three of them survived. Not only that, they each won their respective age division.

Fast forward one full year and the family has a home just a short sprint from the base of Pilot Butte. What’s more, George, the CEO and Founder of Pierce Footwear, is the new head of Pilot Butte Charities, a non-profit that helps look after Bend’s beloved State Park.

George took over the reins from Carol Smith, aka the “Butte Lady,” who literally walked herself to health by climbing Pilot Butte every day – often several times – for many years. You can read all about her story and George’s unofficial coronation as the “Butte Dude” in this week’s issue of the The Source.

Coincidently, George’s first task as the Butte Dude is to carry out the 19th Annual Pilot Butte Challenge on the evening of Friday, September 29. It’s an incredibly scenic one-mile climb if you choose to hike the trail at a leisurely pace. Or it’s a brutal test of endurance if you try to run it. Unless, that is, you happen to be a super fit kid like E.G.

E.G. Pierce treats his first Pilot Butte Challenge in 2016 as nothing more than a cake walk. His revolutionary Pierce T1 shoes may not have a tongue, but his mouth sure does.

No matter what shape you happen to be in, George encourages you to take the Challenge. If it’s your first time, you’ll be rewarded with the ultimate panoramic view of Central Oregon, as well as a sweet party with free pizza and beer at the top. If you’ve done it before and are up for the challenge of beating your PR, your secret weapon could be getting a pair of Pierce’s amazing T1s. The laceless and tongueless performance shoes caress your feet like a hand in a glove. Contact George to see if your size is in stock.

Whatever your footwear, registration is only $20 for adults and $15 for youth and seniors until 6:00 pm on Tuesday, September 26. After that, the price goes up $5 and registration caps at 150. Get all the details and sign up today at pilotbutte.org.

Accept the Challenge for the fun of it. The health of it. And most of all, the Butte of it.