Saturday, July 13, 2024

Town Honors Brent Holladay with Pump Track Tribute


Two years after the passing of Brent Holladay, his memory continues to resonate throughout the community of Cashmere. Holladay, a devoted outdoor enthusiast and avid mountain biker, asked his family not to dwell in grief but to live life to the fullest in his absence.

In response to his wish, family, friends, and community members joined forces to pave the town pump track in his name. The track now stands as a tribute to the man whose spirit of generosity touched the lives of many.

Brent's wife, Kim Holladay, said that he had always talked about paving the Cashmere dirt track, but it never came to fruition while he was alive.

For Kim and their two children, daughter Jordan and son Jacob, this project is a way to honor his memory and a part of their grieving process.

"Their dad, some of the words that he gave us when he left was 'Live a wonderful life and take me with you everywhere you go,’" Kim said. "He wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the outdoors as much as he had. Because he believed that it's an honest reflection of Jesus and heaven, and it's just an amazing creation that we have and we should enjoy it, right.

"Being outside and, you know, upward and onward is so essential with life and especially for the three of us as we grieve, this is just another beautiful step forward in our grieving process where we can just feel healing, and it's rewarding," she added. "It's exciting to be able to pass it on to the next generation from him and to see that for the community."

Brent was 52 when he passed away in 2021.

About a year and a half ago, Kim went to Brent's core group of friends from the Leavenworth area and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) and asked, 'Can we do this?'.

"And everybody was on board and excited, and I wanted to make it the Brent Holladay Memorial Pump Track," she said.

"The intention was to place asphalt on the newly upgraded tracks so that it didn't deteriorate as fast as the dirt track has over the years," she said. "So it will be something that'll be there for ten plus years for the community to enjoy before they need to worry about maintaining it."

Brent's longtime friend, James Munly, with EMBA, was a key player in making the pump track improvement a success.

Munly said that his friend was a passionate, generous man who gave his time to help others, so it was no surprise when there was a groundswell of people who helped to make the Brent Holladay Pump Track a reality.

The project did not use public funds and was made possible all through the generosity of donations and volunteers.

Kim, along with the high school art teacher, designed the park sign, and her nephew cut it out in the high school shop. She had to have the sign extended because there were so many people who donated and participated in the project, which is a beautiful blessing, she said.

Last week, they were able to add the sign to the park.

Brent, who grew up in Leavenworth, was instrumental in building the original dirt track in 2015. The track was Cashmere High School alum Cole Paton's senior project. Kim was a high school teacher in Cashmere for 20 years. When Paton's turn for a project came along, he wanted to do something that centered around biking. So she lined him up with her husband.

"And they came up with this brilliant idea to create this dirt pump track at Riverside Park, which was all approved through the city and the council and the mayor at the time," Kim said. "So, Cole and Brent and a ton of volunteers built this pump track out of dirt in 2015, which has led to years of kids growing up and appreciating and enjoying and pressing forward with their love of outdoors and mountain biking."

The new paved surface allows for a greater use of the space. With a dirt track, it was primarily regulated to bikes. Now, more of the community can enjoy it.

"What was really neat too was that even the day we were finished paving it, we actually had Jacob Holladay—Kim and Brent's son—was the first person to do laps on it, which was pretty special," Munly said.

As Jacob was taking the inaugural laps, a little girl tugged on Munly's shirt and asked when she could try it. "Right now," he told her, and then he watched as more children came to use the park on scooters, run bikes, and skateboards.

He said it was special to see how diverse the track is, with people using it all the way down to little kids who don't even know how to ride a bike yet using it with their run bikes all the way up to parents using it to skate while their kids ride.

A pump track is a great tool for teaching young children all the way up through adults how to ride a bike on mountain trails, Kim said.

"And that's what we're trying to do is just to continue that on with the next generation," she said. "And he believed that you know, a community bonded together can create a beautiful thing, which I think the pump track is proof of that."

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