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Dangerwheel - AGAR

The Race That Changed A Neighborhood: How successful programming can make all the difference

Nearly a decade ago, the streets of Pendleton in downtown Cincinnati looked less desirable than they are today. In addition to them being desolate, the neighborhood’s central intersection at Broadway & 12th was also one of the highest-trafficked destinations for heroin in all of Ohio. After attempts to push safety in the right direction through additional street cameras and calls for action to the police, progress still wasn’t moving forward. It was then that a group of area residents like Judd & Dani Watkins and business owners, including AGAR’s own Andrew Salzbrun, and his wife Jess, saw the need for change. The proposed solution was to create an event that would shift the narrative, an event that would attract people to the Pendleton neighborhood for the right reasons. The goal was to provide a destination for connection, community building – and frankly a little fun! From this ideation, the concept of Danger Wheel was created – an adult, downhill big-wheel racing tournament. What started as a pipe dream, became a rallying cry for the community, a uniquely local event that drew thousands to a previously forgotten neighborhood. 

Nine years later, the annual summer race continues to transform the streets of Pendleton into an adrenaline-fueled playground, complete with obstacles and ramps. The thoughtful programming has created an event that drives community pride year after year, leveraging a few key elements:

Positioned for the people. An inclusive public event, the race is free to all. On-site burgers, brews, and food trucks feature the neighborhood’s local vendors, introducing attendees to the area’s unique range of food and beverage offerings, increasing the likelihood of repeat visits. The result has provided proceeds from the event go directly back into the community, with organizers supporting projects that positively impact the neighborhood without the politics or red tape that come along with public, city funding.  

Playing in your backyard. While anyone can form a racing team, spectators are empowered to join in on the action. Attendees are given water balloons and encouraged to aim for racers to elevate the excitement. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to bring friends, family, and dawn outrageous costumes – embracing the wonder, curiosity, and mischief, of those nostalgic childhood summers. 

Uniquely local. The event is planned and organized solely by volunteers, individuals who live, work, or simply love the area. That passion is contagious, and a sense of pride for a neighborhood that continues to see successful economic development in recent years. The location is also uniquely Pendleton, with the racing hill being the perfect ratio of dangerous and doable. With plenty of crash-course moments for the fans. 

In nearly a decade, Danger Wheel has seen over 40,000 attendees cheer on hundreds of racers, significant impact on the local economy, all while reinvesting back into the neighborhood. Creating a continuous cycle of positive evolution. This year, the event even welcomed the Huffy Corporation as a primary sponsor providing new support for the beloved community event. 

Huffy’s partnership with Danger Wheel is entering its second year, and Danger Wheel 2023 exceeded expectations for creating buzz for our brand and engagement with our Green Machine products. The entire Huffy team could not be more excited for this year’s event; we’re thrilled to feature the latest in the Green Machine innovation pipeline in less than a month!

Kris Parlett
Vice President, Brand & DTC, Huffy

Ready to get your race on? Learn more or experience the event for yourself on Saturday, July 27th:

A thank you to all the Danger Wheel founding members including Anthony Gary, Dave & Season Huff, Ric Heisler, and Tyler Dingle.