The Claxton-Evans County Chamber of Commerce is centered in
Claxton, Evans County, Georgia, the “Fruitcake Capital of the World”. It is home to The Claxton Bakery, Inc., home
of Claxton Fruitcake and the Georgia
Fruitcake Company, home of Georgia Fruitcake.
It is also home to Claxton Poultry Farms, one of the largest providers
of chicken throughout the South, serving customers such as Kentucky Fried
Chicken, Chick-fil-A, Popeye’s and others.
In 1995, the Chamber of Commerce decided to promote its
unique area and raise funds for its effort to promote the area by creating a
new recreational opportunity. After
discussion among its membership, it was noted that the cycling pastime was fast
becoming popular. So, the Chamber
decided to conduct an organized bike ride for cyclists. That first event, the “Yuletide Ride”, was
held in conjunction with the Chamber’s Annual Christmas on the Courthouse Lawn
and drew 31 participants. But even in
the smallest of numbers, the ride was a big success and the organizers knew
they wanted to make it grow.
In 1996, the event was moved to November under the name
“Cruisin’ in the Country”. The ride was
expanded to include a 65-mile route. The
growth was 4 times larger than the initial ride! In 1997, a standard century was added to the
event and the name changed to “Cruisin’ in the Country Century”. By 1998, “Cruisin’ “ had grown so large (429
participants) that the Chamber knew it had to change its start/finish location.
Ride headquarters was moved to the 40 acre Evans County Recreation
Department with it’s large, open areas, playgrounds, camping sites, easy access
to county roads, and large buildings to house registration. By 2000, the ride had grown to over 700
cyclists and the Chamber decided to make it a weekend affair for the cyclists
who were traveling long distances. Over
1000 cyclists appeared in 2002 to chase the “Cruisin’” cap, and enjoy a weekend
under the stars around the campsite fire!
In 2004, the founder of the ride, Georgia football great, Royce
Smith, died in January. The Chamber had
assumed full direction of the ride by that time, but Royce will always be
remembered as having put his heart and soul into building “Cruisin’ in the
In 2010, a search began for another organization to take
responsibility for the Cruisin’ Ride.
Inasmuch as the search did not locate a new sponsor in a timely manner
and considering the major road construction project involving Highway 280
through downtown Claxton, the ride was cancelled for the year 2010 with
optimism that it would continue in 2011.
The Chamber retained its sponsorship of Cruisin’ in 2011,
with a renewed commitment to provide the best cyclist-friendly ride of the
The Claxton-Evans County Chamber of Commerce takes great
pride in extending the tradition of true Southern hospitality to our cycling
friends. Come ride with us every second
Saturday in November!
No Event Held