SOMERVILLE, NJ – More than 10,000 people are expected to crowd into Somerville on Memorial Day for a unique sporting event that features speed, skill, cunning, strategy and more than a few scraped knees and elbows.
The Tour of Somerville features three preliminary races and a 25-mile women’s race that lead up to the 73rd annual Kugler-Anderson Memorial 50-mile race, which attracts an international field of 150 elite cyclists vying for a purse of $10,000. Competitors will come from as far away as Argentina and Australia and include last year’s winner, Andrew Dahlheim of Greenville, South Carolina.
The start/finish line for all races is on East Main Street in front of the Historic Somerset County Courthouse. Musicians, vendors, and exhibits will be set up on the courthouse lawn.
The marquee event is scheduled to begin at 3:20 p.m.
The day begins at 9 a.m. with the Somerville Memorial Day Parade, ending with ceremonies at the New Cemetery on South Bridge Street.
Cycling events begin at 10 a.m. with the Somerville Recreation Department Family Fun Ride, followed at 10:45 a.m. by the Harry Naismith Juniors Race sponsored by the Somerville Elks, followed at 11:35 a.m. by the Category II/II Bell Chiselko Race.
The Legends Race featuring cyclists 50 and over begins at 12:40 p.m., followed by Kid’s Sprint Races sponsored by the Somerville Elks.
The Kid’s Main Street Sprints are new to the event, with youngsters ages three to 12 racing down Main Street at distances of 15-200 yards, with cyclists grouped by age. Somerset Patriots mascot “Sparkee” will be on hand to award ribbons to all those participants.
The 25-mile Mildred Kugler Women’s Pro Race is scheduled to go off at 2:15 p.m. The women will also compete for a purse of $10,000.
A festive party atmosphere pervades throughout the borough, with front yard lawn parties hosted by residents. Visitors arrive with lawn chairs and coolers to camp out on the race circuit.
The 1.2 mile race course is defined by hundreds of yards of plastic netting, road cones and barricades. The races will start on East Main Street and turn onto Grove Street for a short distance, before hitting a long straightaway heading west on High Street, then turning again onto Mountain Avenue before heading east on Main Street through downtown.
The Kugler-Anderson Memorial is named after Furman Kugler who won the inaugural event in 1941 and 1942 winner Carl Anderson. Both men lost their lives during World War II.
Tour of Somerville weekend activities begin the day before, May 29, with preliminary races in neighboring Bound Brook at 1 p.m. with the start-finish/line on Cherry Street.
All events are promoted by Arts on Division, a Somerset County-based resource that encourages all aspects of culture and the arts. Arts on Division will donate a portion of Tour proceeds to “Jack’s Kids,” a nonprofit organization supporting families of children with serious illnesses.