First Priority fundraiser ‘Rock the Crater’ coming up

Published 3:41 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

First Priority Tri-States is encouraging the community to get involved in the upcoming Rock the Crater Ride.

The Rock the Crater Ride is a fundraiser hosted by and benefiting First Priority. The ride will run through the beautiful and scenic hills and hollows of Eastern Kentucky.

“This is our third year,” explained Ministry Director Emery Minton, Jr. “We have grown every year. The first year, I think we had about 50 or 60, and last year we had about 80. This year, we are going to be over 100.”

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Minton explained that he wants the community to be aware that during the event there will be cyclists along routes throughout the area.

“Treat them with respect and please don’t run over them,” he said as he laughed. “Pass them carefully, and they’ll give them room. If people have dogs on the routes, it would be helpful if they could put those up if they are chasers or aggressive.”

There are five route options. The Blue Route is a 10-mile run ride. He explained that is an easy ride for anybody that just wants to participate and support First Priority. The Red Route is a 21-mile ride, Orange Route is a 38-mile ride, Green Route is a 62-mile metric century ride, and White Route is a 101-century mile ride.

“This year it will be Oct. 5, and we will launch from East Cumberland Avenue Parking Lot at 9 a.m.,” Minton said of the event. “We will have vehicles with flashers following all those riders. The city of Middlesboro and the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and emergency crews have all volunteered graciously to help us.”

Minton explained that the idea for the ride came as a way to raise general funds for the ministry.

“I had gotten into cycling and had gone to a couple of rides. We didn’t have one here, so when the bike shop was here I got with those guys and we decided to put this ride together,” he said. “There was a route that some of the riders did that the guys riding called ‘rock the crater’ and we took that name and played on that.”

He said after that it was developed into a bigger ride that became a great fundraiser and a way to bring people into the area and help the economy.

“The money helps us do more ministry with the schools with First Priority and what we do,” he explained of the fundraiser. “The fundraisers help our guys. We have three guys that are in part-time ministry, and we supplement them and let them work for us to help our ministry grow. So, it goes toward those expenses primarily and it also just helps us do more ministry through the schools.”

First Priority started in 1996 with three campuses and three clubs.

“We are now in five counties, and we have 30 clubs. Last year, we had 403 students say yes to Jesus on a public school campus,” said Minton. “People say we need the Bible in school and we need prayer in school, and we tell them it is. It’s called First Priority and it’s there and it’s a legal avenue for us to teach students to lead and win their friends to Jesus on a public school campus. It is student led and student initiated.”

Minton said that he would love to have the community support First Priority and if you want to support, you can contact them directly at or you can contact them through Facebook at FPTS1

“Anything that is done through the ride or through fundraising trickles down to the schools in order to be able to do more ministry,” he said.

To find out more about Rock the Crater Ride you can visit or you can call 865-585-8842.