Unicycle event Muni Fest celebrates its 10th year

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The unicycling event Muni Fest has been hosted at Oak Mountain State Park for a decade.

Muni Fest is for unicyclists to race one another, view custom unicycle bikes and ride the trails of Oak Mountain State Park. It is a four-day event and this year, will be held from noon Thursday, Oct. 20 to noon Sunday, Oct. 22.

The first event held was in 2013 and founders Wendell Rotenberry and Jeff Limer felt inspired to bring a unicycle event to the Shelby County area.

“In 2013 we went to an event called the Asheville Unicycle Gathering,” Rotenberry said. “We liked what they were doing and asked ourselves why we don’t start our own.”

The event has experienced a lot of growth according to Rotenberry.

“Our first event we had 11 riders,” Rotenberry said. “Last year, we had 65. We have grown a little bit every year. This year we expect 75 to 100. It started as just, ‘Hey let’s invite people on this ride.’ And it has grown into having races, unicycle basketball and trail riding.”

Unicyclists come from all over the nation, and even out of the country, to be a part of the event.

“If you want to go to one of these events and ride with other riders, you must travel,” Rotenberry said. “And that is what people do. This year we have people coming to our event from Alaska, California, Florida, New York and Canada.”

Custom unicycle bikes are made by an engineer and put in a field to be looked at and ridden during the event.

“One of the most fun things we do is have about 100 unicycles in a big field there at Oak Mountain, and they are all one of a kind,” Rotenberry said. “We put them out on the field and people have a ball on them. There will be tandem unicycles where two people can get on them and try to ride. That is a huge draw, having one-of-a-kind unicycles that really aren’t anywhere else in the world.”

Oak Moutain State Park has hosted the event since its creation.

“We have an acronym S.T.O.M.P. and it stands for Southern Trails of Oak Mountain Park,” Rotenberry said. “We very much appreciate Oak Mountain Park. They have been great for our event, and they have been very supportive. They have worked with us in every way from the beginning. It has been great. I am positive our event wouldn’t work in any other location as well as it does.”

The rides and trails at Muni Fest are open to everyone.

“We have rides tailored for beginners and intermediate,” Rotenberry said. “We also have rides that we stress are for advanced. We call it beginner, intermediate and advanced. But people do not even have to ride they can stay on the field and play on the 100 unicycles in the field and have a lot of fun there. It is for everybody and all ages.”

More information about the event can be found Stompmunifest.blogspot.com.