News Column

Hotter'N Hell heats up with Finish Line Village concerts

August 22, 2014

By Lana Sweeten-Shults, Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas

Aug. 22--IF YOU GO

What: The O's in concert

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 23

Where: Hotter'N Hell Finish Line Village behind Kay Yeager Coliseum

Admission: Free


Sizzling cycling and masterful maneuvering?

They're synonymous with the Hotter'N Hell Hundred, the cycling race and ride of Iron Man, ultimate endurance proportions in which those who dare to do so can test their mettle by tackling a 100-mile route through the flat North Texas expanse in 100-degree weather, give or take a few degrees. (Around 12,000 or so do this annually, by the way).

But it isn't the only thing smoking about the Hotter'N Hell, which opened with a trade show at the MPEC Thursday and culminates Sunday.

There's also the feverish music, courtesy of the HHH concert that will occupy Finish Line Village on the grounds behind Kay Yeager Coliseum -- just one of the more entertaining events surrounding that harrowing 100-mile HHH Michelob Ultra Road Race, which attracts professional riders, and the Endurance Ride, which is open to anyone who just wants to do the aforementioned mettle testing.

The HHH concerts begin Friday night. Taking the stage at Finish Line Village will be Wichita Falls-based cover band Miyagi, a rock outfit named after Mr. Miyagi from "The Karate Kid" films, from 7:30-9 p.m., following Friday's cycling events -- the mountain bike and criterium races. The five-piece outfit includes guitarists Jon Richerson and Dustin Fike, drummer Dave Norman, bassist John McGowan and vocalist Nolan Cannedy.

"Now, we have classic, rock, hard rock, alternative rock and even dancey stuff like Prince and the Black Keys," Cannedy told the Times Record News earlier this summer of the group's playlist.

Then the concert action heats up again Saturday as the Devin Williams Band rocks the stage from 10:30 a.m. to noon, followed by the O's from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the Kris Lager Band from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Just a little about the bands.

The Devin Williams Band is a re-formed version of the original group, which rocked the local club scene from 2009-2011. The outfit was revived in November 2013 and includes vocalist Williams, guitarist Joe Harris, drummer Romeo Romero, bassist Jeff Griner and harmony vocalist Kacie Provence.

"We are trying to do unique songs, like 'Skinny Love' by Birdy, 'Let Her Go' by Sean McConnell, 'Hell on Heels' by Pistol Annies, and some songs by Michelle Branch's band, the Wreckers," Williams said in a Times Record News article from July 2014.

Dallas-based duo the O's, which formed in 2008, is made up two former members of Polyphonic Spree -- kick drummer and guitarist Taylor Young and banjo/guitarist/harpist/vocalist John Pedigo. The guys, who also have been in such bands as Slick 57, Rose County Fair, Hi-Fi Drowning and Young Heart Attack, describe their music as rock music, though on acoustic instruments. They have toured relentlessly through the United States, the United Kingdom and other European countries and have recorded three CDs -- "We Are the O's" in 2009, 2011's "Between the Two," recorded with Grammy winner Stuart Sikes, and 2013's "Thunderdog."

Finally, the Kris Lager Band will add a rockin' blues touch to the HHH. Lager, who is based in Nebraska with the rest of the band, grew up on a diet of Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the like, but has since added folk, rock, funk, jam, gospel, barrelhouse country and soul to his sound. The band considers itself "roots revivalists." The guys play about 200 shows a year.

Besides the concerts, here are a few other things to delve into at the Hotter'N Hell:

--SPAGHETTI DINNER, BREAKFAST. Annually, the North Texas Restaurant Association gets riders and racers ready for the big day Saturday with an all-you-can-eat dinner of pasta, salad, drinks and cookies ($8.50) served from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Kay Yeager Coliseum. However, you don't have to be a rider or racer at all, since the meal is open to everyone. And you'll get another carb-loading opportunity at the HHH breakfast beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday at the coliseum. On the menu? Pancakes, fruit, scrambled eggs, sausage and coffee ($7.50) prepared by Monarch Events and Catering.

--CONSUMER SHOW. What's a little cycling without a little shopping to go with it? More than 90 vendors are expected at the MPEC, bringing everything from bikes and related biking gear to clothing, protein bars, fitness electronics, sunglasses and more. The show runs from 1 to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. About 20,000 riders and spectators visit the consumer show annually.

--FINISH LINE VILLAGE. On Friday and Saturday, it's at Finish Line Village where you'll find the HHH concerts and plenty of food and drink booths so you can recover after the ride. But if you're not a rider or racer, it's a good place to walk around and soak up the sights, sounds and spirit of the Hotter'N Hell Hundred.

--CRITERIUM RACES. One of the more exciting spectator events at the Hotter'N Hell is Friday and Sunday's very zippy United States Cycling Federation's Criterium Races near the MPEC. These are races on a closed-circuit track and the action is fast and furious as you get to see racers whooshing by at speeds of around 30 miles per hour (nearing 40 mph during sprints). Races run from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and from 7 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sunday.

--TRIPLE THREAT. Those who want to go to the extremes will be challenged to a 13-mile mountain bike course Friday, the 100-mile Hotter'N Hell Endurance Ride Saturday, and a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail on Sunday. Anyone can participate in these events separately but must do all three to be considered a Triple Threat. All events begin at the J.S. Bridwell Agricultural Center.

--WEE-CHI-TAH TRAIL RUN. Runners can get into the action, in addition to all the cyclers, at the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Run, which offers a 10K and half-marathon and begins at 7 a.m. Sunday (the half-marathon is one of the three events included in the Triple Threat Challenge).

--ENDURANCE RIDE. Of course, if you do want to join in all the cycling activities, be up early Saturday morning. The action starts at 6:45 a.m. for the Michelob Ultra Road Races for USA Cycling racers at Lincoln Street and Burkburnett Road. Most of us, however, will be participating for the mere challenge of it in the Endurance Ride, which includes various routes: the 100-mile, 100K, 50-mile, 25-mile and 10K routes, with tandem and recumbent riders starting at Second Street.

Follow Lana Sweeten-Shults on Twitter @LanaSweetenShult


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Source: Wichita Falls Times Record News (TX)

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