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Appalachian student receives scholarship from the USA Cycling Foundation, engages community in biking

By Mary Giunca

BOONE, N.C.—An Appalachian State University student who helped organize the first women’s cycling event in the Boone area in the summer of 2016 has been awarded the women’s Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarship from the USA Cycling Foundation.

View larger imageAppalachian State University student Annie Pharr of Tuxedo, who is majoring in recreation management and sociology, received a scholarship from the USA Cycling Foundation. Photo by Yates Pharr

Annie Pharr, a recreation management and sociology major from Tuxedo, will receive $1,500 from the foundation. Two Joshua Kuck Memorial Scholarships are awarded annually to the top male and female riders in USA Cycling’s Collegiate Cycling programs.

Recipients are evaluated on the basis of academic achievement, competitive cycling results, collegiate club involvement and community service accomplishments. The scholarship is funded through the USA Cycling Foundation by directed donations from the friends and family of Joshua Kuck, a University of South Florida collegiate cyclist who was killed by a motorist on his bike in 2007.

Last year Pharr was one of six women on a committee that launched the first Cowbelle Classic. The event’s theme of “All Women. Two Wheels. One Community” set the tone for a noncompetitive event for women of all ages and abilities. Ninety-five women, ages 11 to 74, could choose from 15-, 35- and 47-mile rides. The 2017 Cowbelle Classic will be held on Aug. 26.

The event provided mentoring for new riders and offered a promise that no rider would be left behind. The event was sponsored by the Boone Area Cyclists (BAC), a nonprofit with a mission to develop, coordinate and promote safe and accessible bicycling opportunities in the Boone area. This was the first large-scale ride that the BAC had planned.

“It affirmed the importance of supporting the growing women’s cycling community,” said Pharr, “and it brought females cyclists together who may not have otherwise met.”

Pharr conducted a survey after the event to better understand participants’ motivations for attending and to improve future events. She found that over half of the women had never participated in a cycling event before. Some of the participants also asked for a longer route, so this year a 64-mile route has been added to the event.

Pharr, a senior, is president of ASU Cycling, which was named the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference (ACCC) Champion for the 2016 mountain bike season. She was the ACCC individual conference champion, won fourth place in the Collegiate MTB Nationals Short Track, and was fourth for overall club women’s omnium. She maintains a 3.81 GPA and is a board member for the Boone Area Cyclists. She hopes to stay involved with cycling and the outdoors after graduation and is working this summer as an assistant program director and head of a new mountain bike program at Camp Glen Arden in Tuxedo.

“Without my App State teammates, I would be a different person. Collegiate cycling pushes me to be my best self – emotionally, physically and even in academics,” she said. “I find cycling to be empowering and I hope to always be involved in the cycling community.”

For more information on how to be involved as a volunteer, sponsor or to order a jersey for the Cowbelle Classic, visit and look for the Cowbelle Classic under the events tab. To register for the Cowbelle Classic, go to

About the Beaver College of Health Sciences

Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences opened in 2010 as the result of a strategic university commitment to significantly enhance the health and quality of life for individuals, families and communities in North Carolina and beyond. In 2015, the college was named for an Appalachian alumnus and pioneer in the healthcare industry – Donald C. Beaver ’62 ’64 of Conover. The college offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, which are organized into six departments: Nursing, Social Work, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Nutrition and Health Care Management, Health and Exercise Science, and Recreation Management and Physical Education.

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, two stand-alone academic programs, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university’s strengths, traditions and unique location. Our values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of our students as global citizens. There are approximately 5,850 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.