What is Outdoor City USA?
The concept that would become Outdoor City USA came in early 2019. I had successfully closed out my interest in the startup bicycle wheel company I co-founded, Knight Composites, and was looking forward to some time off from the bike business where I’d spent most of the
previous twenty years.
We’d lived in Bend since 2005 and our family were super settled here. My plan had been to ride bikes and ski together, run local trails in the forest, work in my garden and enjoy life with my family.
“Don’t be afraid to dream big”
Imagine my surprise when the city’s Economic Development office approached me to help bring the outdoor industry to my favorite place on earth. Don’t be afraid to dream big, they said. Show us what you can do, they said.
I wasn’t, and I did. Turned out I’d found my dream job where I least expected it.
Or rather, it had found me.
I started thinking about what an outdoor sports festival in Bend could mean for families who love the outdoors as much as we do. We like to hike and climb and ride and run and explore and swim and climb, and I found myself at 3:00 am sitting in the kitchen, staring at the laptop
and dreaming about a festival that checked every box for families like ours.
Welcome to the Outdoor City
I wanted to build something bigger and more all-embracing, a venue where people from all walks of life and outdoor disciplines could come together and enjoy this incredible playground. That meant more than races. For sure there would be racing, but also all kinds of competitive, enthusiast, recreational and hands-on learning events. And frankly, I was tired of seeing events where women and kids were mostly relegated to “hangers-on” status.
Outdoor City USA became the festival I wanted to bring my family to.
The name came about from a trip back to my birthplace in Sheffield, which is in Yorkshire, England, where I was putting my daughter through her last year of middle school and visiting Knight dealers and distributors. Sheffield bills itself as The Outdoor City of the UK, and it seemed only natural that my adopted hometown of Bend could become Outdoor City USA. I took it back to the folks at Mt Bachelor and the city of Bend; they loved it as much as I did.
And we hope you love it as much as we do.