While participants in the Ride 4 Trails began arriving in Terlingua this evening, elated that Big Bend National Park had reopened just one day prior to the kickoff of their 16th annual event, tragedy marred the usual festivities. Adam Arredondo, a Texas Department of Transportation employee based in Midland, Texas who was on his way to join his fellow riders, was killed in a motorcycle accident reportedly 20 miles south of Alpine in Brewster County. Mr. Arredondo was a maintenance worker out of Midland for the Odessa District of TxDOT, and is being remembered by colleagues and friends as a man who was passionate about life, his job and motorcycles.
As of 8:00 p.m., word of Mr. Arredondo’s death was just beginning to circulate amongst the participants in R4T but, those interviewed, were resolute in their sentiments that “Adam would want us to continue. He was passionate about our national parks and especially Big Bend,” stated an individual who had traveled to the event from Austin and requested anonymity.
The agenda for Saturday includes:
• registration between 8 and 11 a.m. at Big Bend Resorts and Adventures in Study Butte;
• last bike into Panther Junction at 2:00 p.m.
• Blessing of the Bikes at 5:45 p.m., and
• 6:00 p.m. – the Tony Aguilar Memorial Bike Parade to Terlingua Ghost Town from Study Butte.
Tony was also a beloved member of the Ride 4 Trails event and had advocated for safer conditions for cyclists. It is expected that the memorial will now include a tribute to Adam as well.
Ride 4 Trails benefits Big Bend National Park in the construction and maintenance of hiking and stock trails in the park. Several of the participants with whom we spoke this evening said that, while they were anxious about the status of the National Parks, they had also contacted Big Bend Ranch State Park who “bent over backwards” to help ensure we had a successful event. Even with the reopening of the BBNP, many of the riders plan on riding the River Road – Highway 170 – between the Barton Warnock Center entrance of the Park and Presidio. “We’ll have Adam and Tony with us,” a woman from El Paso said, “and our hearts go out to Adam’s family and loved ones.”
Ironically, Adam was among those who lined a funeral route in 2011 for another colleague, Martin Glass. Glass was killed in a motorcycle accident while participating in an event known as the Ride to Remember.
Further details about today’s accident are unavailable as of this writing as the official spokesperson, Sheriff Ronny Dodson, was unavailable for comment. Sheriff Dodson was also a sponsor of this event according to Ride 4 Trails’ website.
Sharron Reed is a resident of Terlingua, Texas and a correspondent for KRTS, Marfa Public Radio.