Pierce Footwear Team Kicks Butte in Annual Pilot Butte Challenge

George Pierce powers past a rhythmic Bend High honor guard near the finish line of the 2017 Pilot Butte Challenge. If there’s a race with a better view in the Northwest, we’d like to see it.

For the most part, George Pierce and his team of volunteers were the perfect hosts for the 19th Annual Pilot Butte Challenge last Friday evening. Registration and check-in were smooth and efficient. There was plenty of food, beverages, awards and prizes at the finish. They even raked the whole course from top to bottom. But when it came time for the race itself, there was no room for congeniality.

In the comfort of his lace-less Pierce T1 shoes, George took 1st place in the Men’s 55-59 category. He tackled the one-mile course spiraling up Pilot Butte in 10:32.2, good enough to beat his closest competitor by two seconds.

Not to be outdone, George’s son E.G. arrived at the start exhausted from an intense Bend High soccer practice. Yet he still managed to win the Men’s 15-19 category, conquering the Butte trail in a mere 8:18.5. His time was good enough for 5th place overall, just 1:31 behind winner David McKay, who nearly beat the course record.

Silvie Pierce, right, and her son E.G. bask in the glow of a beautiful Bend sunset after completing the Pilot Butte Challenge.

The Pierce Footwear team had a big impact on the Women’s side of the race as well. Kathleen Quinney took 1st place in the 45-49 category with a time of 11:53.7. And even George’s wife Silvie power-walked to the summit in her T1s with a couple of other team members.

An event for the ages

All in all, it was a spectacular evening with well over 100 people completing the Challenge and enjoying a beautiful sunset over Bend to boot. It was truly an all-ages event as participants included 4-year-old Avonlea Cordell, 91-year-olds Jean Metcalfe and John Kerstetter, and 99-year-old Art Vinall. Art plans to be back next year to set the record in the 100+ age group.

“As the new director of Pilot Butte Charities, I couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and funds raised for the State Park,” said George Pierce. “I want to thank all of the event sponsors and auction contributors for making the event possible. I also want to thank The Bulletin and KTVZ News for their extensive coverage. Everyone definitely left our beloved Butte feeling on top of the world.”

For more extensive coverage and official race results, visit the Facebook pages for?Pilot Butte State Park and Pilot Butte Challenge. See you all at the top next year.