Tour de Paris fueled by volunteers

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PARIS, Texas (KXII) -- Cyclists are hitting the streets Saturday for the 33rd annual Tour de Paris.

Lamar County Chamber of Commerce and over 650 volunteers have been working since March to put on one of Paris' most iconic events.

It's an event that put the City of Paris on the map.

Its secret to success lies in servitude.

"It's our volunteers and our city of Paris workers. We couldn't do anything without that," said Becky Semple.

As Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director, Semple works year-round to plan the Tour de Paris, from gathering sponsorships to scheduling registration events around the area. But she says the volunteers are the bread and butter of the whole operation.

"We couldn't hold an event of this magnitude without volunteers," said Semple.

Over 1,000 people come from all over the United States to ride on one of the four non-competitive bike routes. They may be here to ride a bike, but Semple says it's a chance to put their best foot forward.

"This is a time to show off Paris and Lamar County," said Semple.

Finding pride in where you're planted is a theme throughout the whole event. Volunteers help with everything: registration and passing out supplies and even baking cookies and handing out fruit and pickle juice for the cyclists.

For the Lamar County chapter of Young Life, it's a chance to give back to the community they hold close and show everyone else what Paris is about.

"I could just see the community atmosphere. They're all coming together. It's just one cause that we can all contribute to," said a Young Life volunteer. "That's the ultimate thing about Paris, Texas in general is that, man, people want to give back to the community. They want to be united for that one cause."

Those that ride in the Tour de Paris will see a town people take pride in and maybe even want to come back. If not for the cookies then for a little piece of Southern hospitality.

The Tour de Paris kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Love Civic Center.

You can still sign up at 6 a.m. before it starts.