2017 Press Release

Kenneth Jesensky finishes first at 16th Annual Benge’s Revenge Challenge

Twenty-five bicycle enthusiasts began the challenge at about 9:00 A.M. on a clear, cool morning, perfect for a pleasant bike outing. Benge’s Revenge isn’t your normal bike outing; it is a grueling 75 mile ride from Norton through Appalachia and Keokee in Lee County, back to Big Stone Gap, and then through Powell Valley to Norton. The 75 mile ride concludes with a steep climb of over 1.5 miles to Flag Rock and the finish line. Riders have the option of a 25 and 50 mile ride that ends at Legion Park at the base of the final climb.

Kenneth Jesensky of Wise, VA crossed the finish line in three hours, 31 minutes and 58 seconds to finish first in the 75-mile portion of the 16th Annual Benge’s Revenge Bike Challenge held on Sunday, Sept. 10th  in Norton, Virginia.

In total 14 riders competed in the 75-mile portion of the challenge that ended at the entrance to Flag Rock Recreation Area.  Other top finishers in addition to Jesensky were Second Place – Wes Sturgill, Wise, VA; Third Place Josh Terry, Jonesville, VA; Fourth Place – Bradly Mathisen, Norton, VA ; Fifth Place – Phillip Prince, Wise, VA.

Elizabeth Mathisen, Norton, VA was the first woman to finish the 75 mile ride with a time of four hours, 35 minutes.

Erik Arroz of Whitesburg, KY was the first place finisher of the 50 mile Challenge with a time of two hours, 58 minutes and 33 seconds. Dave Stallard of Wise, VA was second with a time of three hours, 8 minutes and 33 seconds and Donnie Sorah of Wise, VA, was the third place with a time of three  hours, 8 minutes and 45seconds.

Tommy Russell of Kingsport, TN, finished first in the 25-mile challenge in one hour, 30 minutes and 21 seconds followed by second place finisher Nathan Ward of Norton, VA with a time of one hour,  31 minutes and 28seconds and third place finisher Keith Adams of Ermine, KY with a time of one hour, 47 minutes, 44 seconds.

Each year two additional awards are given at the bike challenge.  The Annual Bill Collie Powell Valley Mountain Challenge Award and the Dink Shackleford Most Aggressive Rider Award. This year both awards went to Kenneth Jesensky of Wise.

The late Dink Shackleford organized the first Benge’s Revenge. Members of the Norton Kiwanis Club now organize the race in his memory with proceeds from the challenge supporting Kiwanis programs for youth including scholarships at Mountain Empire Community College and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.

The Norton Kiwanis Club would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the Benge’s Revenge:  A & A Security, Bolwell Financial Consultants, Ltd., City of Norton Police Department, Cartridge World, CSE Insurance, Data Ensure, Inc., Doughmakers Pizza, Edward Jones Financial Services – James Lawson, Family Preservation Services, First Bank & Trust Company, Fishtales, Hagy-Fawbush Funeral Home, Ironworks Cycling & Outdoor Adventures, Lee County Sheriff’s Department, Lifecare Ambulance Service, Lonesome Pine Cycling, Miners Exchange Bank, New Peoples Bank, New Vision Optical – Wise, Pathfinders Outdoor Adventures, Pepsi Cola Bottling Co., Southwest Insurance Agency, Southwest Tool Rental, Tester Chiropractic, The Optometry Group, Vic’s Decorating, William C. Horne, Jr., DDS, Wise County Sheriff’s Department, Wolfe, Williams & Reynolds.

The Norton Kiwanis Club would like to thank the following people for their hard work in the 2017 Benge’s Revenge: Kiwanis Club Members – Paul Bolling, Esther Bolling, Martha Jones, Kathy Still, Sharon Hamblin, Sass Sloce, Ernie Ward, Rick Colley and Buzz Witt; Tina Colley, Sigman Aid Station;  Pre-Race and In-Race Bike Repair and Service – Ironworks Cycling & Outdoor Adventures of Big Stone Gap (Lorenzo Rodriguez and Bobby Bloomer)

For more pictures and results please visit the Benges Revenge website.