Dirty Kanza, one of the most prolific gravel races in the world, will now be known as Unbound Gravel. The name change comes in the wake of a slew of controversy. The event organizers originally pushed back on the name change, insisting that the use of ‘Kanza’ (a derogatory name for the Kaw Nation), was supported by the Kaw Nation in this case.
Calls to change the name of the event increased in June when race founder Jim Cummins was asked to leave the organization after a Facebook post where he called the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks ‘justified’.
One day after Cummins left the organization, Unbound Gravel’s parent company Life Time issued a statement confirming it would be rebranding. “We have been working throughout this year on options for a name change,” the statement said. “Our event name wasn’t created with ill-intent, and while we have worked with and received support from the Kaw Nation, we also understand that our name should not cause hurt. This process does take time, and we want to make this change in the correct manner. Please know that we will share progress as we work through this process.”
New name, new branding
On Thursday, Life Time announced the new name of the event. The new name also came with new branding, an homage to the Flint hills of Kansas. Unbound says its new name is: “About self-discovery. We will come undone, reinvigorated, and undone again each time we’re out on those hills.”
The 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the next iteration of the event (the first under the new Unbound branding) is currently scheduled for June 15, 2021