2018 Tour de Coal

Join the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce on its 13th annual Tour de Coal bicycle ride on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2017, at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center, 201 E. Central Ave. in downtown Benld, Ill. (62009).

The Tour de Coal is for riders of all ages and abilities who have an interest in cycling in the Macoupin County, Ill.  The ride will be held in conjunction with the 20th Annual Fall Festival held at the Benld City Park, where the bike ride ends.

In the Tour de Coal Bike Ride, cyclists choose from a 13.6-mile family ride, a mid-length 35-mile ride or a metric century (64.8 miles).  The terrain is flat to rolling with some hills.

Registration is from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center on the day of the event. You can save money by registering in advance either by mail or through Active.com. Advance registration is $20 per person and $45 for a family of three or more people living in the same household.  On the day of the ride, the cost is $25 per person and $50 for family of three or more people living in the same household.

The Tour de Coal did their first mass start in 2014. There will be a mass start beginning at 7:00
AM for those riding the metric century. If you want to find someone with similar riding skills, this is a good way to find them.  It will start at the registration area on Central Avenue (Rt. 138). All other riders will start their ride heading north on Second Street as in the past. The mass start is NOT mandatory for Metric century riders. If you plan to ride the metric century and do not want to start at 7:00 AM that is alright too. Again, it is not mandatory. All riders other than the mass start riders can begin their ride any time prior to the closing of registration.

Out-of-town visitors to the Tour de Coal can camp Friday night (Sept. 21) at Benld City Park,  which is just 1 block north of the Benld Civic Center. For information about camping, contact Mickey
Robinson at (217) 710-5218 or mrer@madisontelco.com.

GUARANTEES A T-SHIRT.  Late registration will be honored with T-shirts while supplies last.

At registration, riders are also given a redeemable ticket for a choice of sandwich and soft drink at the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce food booth at the Fall Festival in the Benld City Park.

This year a portion of each person’s registration fee will go to The Partnership for Excellence, which helps the children of the Gillespie Community School District...

Other proceeds from Tour de Coal will be used by the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce to improve the communities of Benld, Dorchester, Eagarville, East Gillespie, Gillespie, Mount Clare, Sawyerville and Wilsonville. The Chamber sponsors events such as a free Summer Concert Series, the Fall Festival, and Breakfast with Santa.

The Benld/Gillespie area has a rich heritage because of its ties to the coal industry.  The Region has sizable numbers of people of German, Irish, Italian, Slavic, Scotch and Russian descent drawn to the region by mining.  The region is dotted with more than 27 old coal mines; and the Tour de Coal
routes pass several of them.  Some of these mines have been highlighted on the Tour de Coal Face book page which can be found at  on the internet.

Benld is also home to The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Russian Orthodox Church, originally built in 1895, the only church in Illinois under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Both Benld and Gillespie are on the original alignment (1926-1930) of Route 66 through Illinois, which is now part of the Blue Carpet Corridor of Route 66.

 The 64-mile route uses alignments of Route 66 in the Staunton-Mount Olive area and passes by the grave site of Mary "Mother Jones" Harris, a prominent labor activist in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

The 64-mile route also goes through the community of Bunker Hill, home to one of the ride's rest stops.  There are 5 other rest stops throughout the ride. 

For more information about the Tour de Coal, contact Coal Country Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mickey Robinson at (217) 710-5218 or mrer@madisontelco.com.

2018 Summer Concert Series

Ribbon Cutting for Pamey's Chill -N- Grill

The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce welcomed new business Pamey’s Chill & Grill, located at 300 East Central Ave. in downtown Benld.  Pictured from left to right: Tom Allen, Chairman of Build Benld; Chris and Paul Cavins, owners of Country Corner of Benld; Mary Newman, Librarian at Bertetti Benld Public Library; Terri Koyne, City Clerk of Benld; Judy Melchert of Hebenstreit Apartments, Secretary of CCCC; Margie Brill, President of CCCC Board; Crystal Cox, Pam Allen (Owner), Stephanie Skelton, and Nicole Simons, all of Pamey’s Chill & Grill; Amanda Loew of Fireside Eye Care; Joyce McFeron of Choppers Hair Shop; Saundra McGrady of Fireside Eye Care of Benld; Charles McFeron of Choppers Hair Shop; Natalie Johnson and Sheila Gekner of Madison Communications; and Mike Brill, CCCC Treasurer.

Ribbon Cutting - Besserman SuperBowl

The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce welcomed new business Besserman SuperBowl Bowling Center to the community and to membership in the chamber.  SuperBowl, a business which has been in Gillespie for many years under the Sherman family, was purchased by Harold and Tressa Besserman in 2017.  Pictured from left to right are: Lindsay Westhoff, Vice President, Lending of UCB Gillespie; Mike Brill, Treasurer of CCCC Board; Kaylee Weber, Clinic Manager of Apex Network Physical Therapy; Judy Melchert, Secretary of CCCC Board; John Hicks, Mayor of Gillespie; Jennifer Alepra, Senior Vice President, Area Manager of UCB; Harold and Tressa Besserman owners of SuperBowl; Margie Brill, President of CCCC Board; Paul and Chris Cavins, owners of Country Corner of Benld; Tina Olroyd, Agent of Country Financial; Frank Barrett and Steve Kluthe, Aldermen on the Gillespie City Council.  

CCCC Presents 50th Anniversary Plaque

The Coal Country Chamber of Commerce presented a 50th Anniversary plaque to Drew Ford, Inc. of Gillespie.  The plaque reads: 50 years in Business—1967 – 2017  DREW FORD INC   In recognition of your commitment to the citizens and community of Gillespie and surrounding areas.  We applaud your 50 years as a member of the business community.  Dick & Jeff Drew  December 2017.  Pictured from left to right:  Judy Melchert, CCCC Board Member; Paul and Chris Cavins, Country Corner of Benld; Mickey Robinson, CCCC Executive Director; Dick and Jeff Drew, 2nd and 3rd generation owners of Drew Ford Inc.

Ribbon Cutting ApexNetwork Physical Therapy

Coal Country Chamber of Commerce helping ApexNetwork Physical Therapy to celebrate the remodeling of their facility at 607 Litchfield Road in Gillespie.
The Gillespie facility is one of 45 locations for APEXNETWORK Physical Therapy in Missouri and Illinois. 
Pictured from left to right are: Ron and Dee Reid, Owners of Reid’s Heating and Cooling in Gillespie; Lindsay Westhoff, Lending Vice President at UCB/Gillespie Banking Center; Of ApexNetwork Physical Therapy are Sue Dauksch, Facility Secretary, Kaylee Weber, PT, DPT and Clinic Manager, Jamie Gansl, Physical Therapy PTA, and Riki Jenkins, Marketing Coordinator; Margie Brill, CCCC President; Judy Melchert, CCCC Secretary; and Mike Brill, CCCC Treasurer.