The event known as “Dirty Kanza” has had a rough 2020, and today, the organizers said they’re looking forward to 2021 and pulling the plug on 2020.
The endurance event has endured a bumpy road this year, grabbing attention for everything but the racing, and there’s still not a smooth, paved path forward yet.
In April, the event was forced to reschedule to September 12, 2020, due to COVID-19, a date that looked uncertain last week given the growing cases throughout much of the country. Lyon County, home to Emporia, currently has the seventh-highest coronavirus case rate in the whole state, down from fifth-highest last week.
This morning, we spoke with LeLan Dains, the former co-owner and current Race Director of DK. Dains officially announced what many of us suspected was inevitable: The 2020 event and festivities will be canceled.
“All 2020 DK activities will be canceled,” Dains told Cyclocross Magazine. “There’s no way to responsibly invite people into this community and provide an experience that would be safe for all parties.”
“All 2020 DK activities will be canceled.” -LeLan Dains
The event was scheduled for September, two months away, but organizers had to make a decision for planning purposes. Trek’s World Cup Waterloo, a UCI Cyclocross World Cup three months away with fewer participants, had already announced its cancelation, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we recognize that the situation always changes rapidly, we’re at a point in our planning where a decision was needed and we feel very strongly this is the correct course of action for 2020,” Dains told Cyclocross Magazine. “And so, we’ve been amidst everything [and] deliberating on that as well and we felt confident eight weeks out that the time was right to say it just can’t happen. And that was out of respect of athlete’s time and their plans that they have to make, as well as our partners and vendors and sponsors and all that goes into it.”
“While we recognize that the situation always changes rapidly, we’re at a point in our planning where a decision was needed and we feel very strongly this is the correct course of action for 2020.” -Dains
Dains has already been pleasantly surprised with the feedback. “The feedback has been extremely positive,” he said. “People were very understanding, I think they knew that was coming, they were just waiting for us to make that official announcement, but I’ve seen no negativity in the media and on social media.”
It’s also telling that the press release announcing the cancelation only references the event as “DK,” not “Dirty Kanza.” As we previously reported, the organizers have already announced their desire to change the event’s name.
Stay tuned for the full interview.
See the official press release below.
Reporting by Allan Feldman.
It’s no secret that our team has been working through a lot these last few weeks. We’ve been diligently listening and learning in order to find Our Way Forward. While the recent events have certainly been a huge focus for us, we have also been working through our fast-approaching September 12th event postponement date, and the implications hosting a large-scale event in Emporia during the COVID-19 pandemic could have on our home and the homes our participants will return to when they leave here.
The DK has impacted the Emporia community in a positive way for the last 15 years. Without the support of our athletes and our community, this town would feel very different. It’s a place that has adopted the gravel cycling way-of-life, establishing itself as “Gravel City”. With open arms, Emporia welcomes thousands of athletes and their families. This is what makes DK such a unique experience. And it is also what makes a decision regarding the September 12th date so difficult. We’ve spent time working to make the best, safest and most educated decision possible for the well-being of our community as well as yours. Ultimately it is not safe to host the 2020 edition of the DK for our athletes, volunteers, staff, and community members.
- Below are your options in lieu of this decision. Please complete your choice by August 7, 2020.
OPTION 1: Complimentary deferral into the 2021 event (June 5, 2021)
- OPTION 2: Complimentary deferral into the 2022 event (June 4, 2022)
- OPTION 3: Donate your entry fee to your choice of the Life Time Foundation (to benefit the Emporia Unified School District 253 school lunch program). As a thank you for your donation, you will receive a guaranteed, non-complimentary entry into your choice of the 2021 or 2022 event
- OPTION 4: Full refund of entry fee (excluding the service fees)
*Note: if you purchased Crew-For-Hire with your registration, we will send you an update on that separately.
Should you have questions regarding the cancellation, or your options, check out our FAQs.
Our promise and commitment to athletes and Emporia alike – we will come back in 2021 with the same enthusiasm, excitement, and passion for our community event on our gravel roads. Truly we can’t wait to share with you all that we have in store, from a new look and name, to an even better experience for athletes, volunteers, and community members alike. We would love nothing more than for you to join us.
During this time of uncertainty we encourage you to use your bike for your well-being – albeit for achieving personal goals, staying fit, or embarking on new adventures.
Onward and dreaming of 2021,
LeLan, Kristi, Treva and Michelle
The DK team