It’s Destination Rabbit Hash for Sunflower Revolution 100k

Mayor Lucy Lou

Lucy Lou, Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Ky., is already getting into the spirit of the 2013 Sunflower Revolution. Photos by Cindy Starr / Mayfield Clinic.

Rabbit Hash, Ky. – This bike ride is not for everyone. It is 100 kilometers long, with winding roads and hills that demand fortitude on the way up and fearlessness on the way down. But the Sunflower Revolution Fitness Festival’s 100k event on Sept. 8 is worth the price of admission for any skilled cyclist who relishes a challenging and scenic workout. The ride, which benefits the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, one of four institutes of the UC College of Medicine and UC Health, will begin and end at Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine and will feature a memorable stop in the historic bungalow of a town known as Rabbit Hash. (Visit www.SunflowerRev.org for a complete list of Sunflower events, including the 40k bike ride and 5k run/walk on Sept. 8 and the free symposium on Sept. 7 for patients and caregivers.)

Rabbit Hash, a 3 ½-acre burg in Boone County, Ky., is nestled along the Ohio River at the bottom of a lush, winding road. Directly across the river is Rising Sun, Ind., and its floating casino. But here in Rabbit Hash, founded in 1831, time has long stood still. The attractions, which include a General Store, a log cabin, a Rabbit Hash Ironworks stove, and the local doctor’s office where women gave birth without epidurals, have put the site on the National Register of Historic Places. “We call it the center of the universe, because it is,” says Bobbi Kayser of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.

Bobbi Kayser with Mayor Lucy Lou and, under the bench, former mayoral contender Travis.

Ms. Kayser is secretary to the town’s mayor, who, in case you haven’t heard the lore, is a dog. The current office-holder is Lucy Lou, a 5-year-old border collie with a sweet disposition and a soft fur coat. Lucy Lou enjoys swimming in the Ohio and has shown a preference for brightly colored sunflowers. She does not bark at strangers.

Lucy Lou won her lifetime term in 2008 over a charismatic field that featured 10 dogs, a cat, an opossum, a miniature donkey and a human being. Because Rabbit Hash has only one permanent resident, the election was opened up to anyone and everyone. Voters paid $1 per vote and were encouraged to vote often, either at the General Store (where drinking while voting was also encouraged) or via PayPal. Votes were cast from as far away as Japan, Russia and Denmark. According to the official Rabbit Hash website, when “last call” for voting was announced, “money flew like fur.” Lucy Lou emerged victorious with more than 8,000 votes. Toby, a springer spaniel, was second; Travis the cat was third; and Higgins, the miniature donkey, was fourth.

Sunflower Revolution founder Kathy Krumme, an avid cyclist and a manager at Oakley Cycles, encourages participants in the Sunflower 100k to pack money and a camera. “Although small, Rabbit Hash is full of photo opportunities and great shopping for ‘one of a kind’ treasures,” she says. “You might want to snag something cool at the Rabbit Hash General Store, such as a green-eyed stuffed kitty, and take photos of the Mayor and the amazingly decked-out motorcyclists you are likely to see!”

The General Store lives up to its billing, with notions, potions and sundries that range from hand-carved canes, brooms and back scratchers, to souvenir T-shirts and sweet-smelling soaps from the South of France.

Corncob back scratchers at the Rabbit Hash General Store.

Ms. Kayser says thousands of visitors pass through Rabbit Hash each year, and periodic barn dances have been drawing 150 or more for live music by blues, rockabilly and old-timey groups. The town’s stores don’t generally open early on Sundays, but Ms. Kayser promised to pull a few strings so that Sunflower Revolution cyclists can fully enjoy the historic site during their stopover on the 100k.

— Cindy Starr

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