Castle Rock mountain biker

A young mountain biker leans into a turn at the Castle Rock Bike Park. Riders of all ages are welcome at Saturday’s event.

Mountain bikers of Cowlitz County take note: The area’s sixth annual Bike Park Blowout takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Castle Rock Bike Park.

Riders of all ages are encouraged to attend the event, which will include free food, free helmets and other prizes.

The park — which will feature a pump track, jump lines and numerous skill stations — was built by a dedicated group of mountain bikers affiliated with Growlers Gulch Racing. So far the group has invested about 3,000 volunteer hours into the 2.5-acre piece of land along the Cowlitz River, Growlers Gulch founding member Jim LeMonds said.

“Every place that we could, we’ve got stuff crammed in, and it expands the whole range of ability levels,” he said. “It’s a very different kind of bike park.”

LeMonds said GGR solicited $25,000 in contributions to build the park and also relied heavily on recycled materials donated by the City of Castle Rock, Cowlitz PUD and the Port of Longview.

On Saturday, younger bikers can earn stickers at each of the park’s 12 skill stations. Any biker who earns a sticker at each station will get a trophy, LeMonds said.

About 40 volunteers will be on hand throughout the day. Kids can get their helmets checked and PeaceHealth St. John will give away free helmets to bikers who lack head protection.

Additionally, Proper Cycle Werks will offer free bike safety checks and make minor repairs.

The North County Recreation Association will serve hotdogs and chips and the Castle Rock Baptist Church will provide free water.

Take Exit 48 and follow the signs to the park, which is on Dike Road, right along the Cowlitz River.

“It’s all about smiles on faces more than anything else,” LeMonds said.

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