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Whether you’re a lifetime mountain bike enthusiast, a novice hiker or someone just looking for a good brew, organizers of the Black Hills Mountain Fest say there’s a place for you at this year’s event.

Formerly known as the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival, the Black Hills Mountain Fest has not only been renamed, but includes a revamped agenda of races and events, said Kristy Lintz, recreation program specialist for the Rapid City Parks and Recreation department.

The event kicks off June 15 and will offer three days of races, seminars, outdoor vendors and free nightly concerts.

“Our intent was to change the scope of the event to be more inclusive of other outdoor recreational activities,” Lintz said.

The events will be held at the Hanson Larsen Memorial Park in Rapid City, another great reason to host an event that celebrates the outdoors, Lintz said.

“We have a gem here with the Hanson Larsen,” she said.

The City of Rapid City owns the 40 acres at the base of the mountain and along the creek line, the School of Mines and Technology owns the acre at the top of the mountain where the “M” is located, and the rest of the park is privately-owned.

“Not many people know that,” Lintz said. “It’s a private park that has been opened to the public.”

The privately-owned section includes more than 300 acres with 30 miles of trails.

“It’s a great way to showcase what we have here in the hills,” Lintz said.

Started in 2007, the original event was a great place for mountain bike enthusiasts to gather, race and connect. The event eventually included a trail run that became exceedingly popular and was one of the reasons they realized they should expand.

“We had added a 5k and 10k trail run with the Black Hills Runners Club and it had seen significant growth,” she said.

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From 2016 to 2017, the number of runners grew from 75 to 120. The race will now be featured on Saturday morning.

Another major change is that the event’s main trifecta of events – a hill climb, Super D descent race and cross country race will be replaced with an eight-mile timed night race on the Hanson Larsen Memorial Trail. The race, which includes an 1800-feet elevation gain, will begin Saturday night at 8 p.m. and run until 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It’s a different focus and for a different type of racer,” Lintz said.

There are so many other races and rides in the area, she added, and the night race is a great way for Black Hills Mountain Fest to be distinguished from others.

People interested in learning something new can also take one of the event’s seminars or speak with a local vendor about fly fishing, hiking, biking or trail running. Independent Ale House is sponsoring the beer garden featuring Lost Cabin Beer Co. brews. 

Lintz said she knows that switching things up is always a risk, but they are hopeful the newly revamped event will retain bike lovers and attract new people as well.

“Change is hard because you don’t know how people will perceive it,” she said. “But hopefully people will enjoy it. Whether someone is a trail runner or biker or just wants to stand by a stream and fish, we hope this will appeal to a broader audience.”

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