East Valley victories: Locals raising cash for organ donation during cycling’s Race Across America - East Valley Tribune: Sports

East Valley victories: Locals raising cash for organ donation during cycling’s Race Across America

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:23 am | Updated: 5:43 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

What do an exercise physiologist, a former car wash owner, an e-mail company account manager and plastic surgeon have in common? Beside being cycling enthusiasts, next month they will team with four other men to compete in the annual 3,000-mile Race Across America.

“Actually it’s eight men, 12 crew people and one dog,” Team Primo member Tim Meyer explained.

Team Primo is one of six national squads representing Team Donate Life, the national nonprofit organization founded by health care providers, organ donors and organ recipients who are committed to raising awareness and funds for organ donation.

Race Across America was created in 1982 and is the longest running ultra-distance bicycle endurance competition in the world.

Meyer, who lives in Scottsdale, will be joined by Matthew Byers, a Scottsdale exercise physiologist; Eric Chebi, also from Scottsdale, who works as an account manager; Scottsdale’s Jim Christopherson, who formerly owned a chain of Valley car washes but now “dabbles in real estate,” Allan Travis of Scottsdale and three men from other parts of the country (Brian Lee, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Jason Devine, Cherryville, N.C., and Don Peters, San Diego).

“We will leave Oceanside, Calif., at 2 p.m. on June 12 and as a conservative estimate hope to finish in Atlantic City on or before 6:45 a.m. on June 20,” Meyer said.

The race is not only called an endurance competition because of its length but also the pace.

“There’s always a rider on the ground with each rider going about 10 miles or 30 minutes,” Meyer explained.

Meyer is described as a passionate endurance athlete who has wanted to compete in the Race Across America (RAAM) since he first heard about it in the 1970s. He is an organ recipient — a corneal transplant — who went from being legally blind in one eye to now having 20/30 vision.

When asked what inspired him to take on the momentous challenge, Meyer said, “It is one very long bike ride with friends and family,” and emphasized that he was making no sacrifices to be able to compete.

Byers also expressed the draw to this challenge as “the opportunity to ride across the country with seven friends —morning, noon and night — while seeing the landscape pass as sun, winds, rain, darkness and all other things bless us along our way. The unknown of this event is one of the most attractive elements.

“My life has been full of infinite blessings, the opportunity to ride in RAAM being another one of them.”

Each rider has his own agenda but they are all committed to help raise a minimum of $50,000 toward research and awareness of organ transplants.

Crew members and volunteers along the way will also play an important part.

“A true team effort will require rider and crew to synchronize eight bikes, four mini-vans and one large motor home in a duel against the clock,” according to Meyer.

Oh and about the one dog ...

That would be Meyer’s running partner Pako, a 9-pound chihuahua.

Meyer is still working out how to strap a basket to his bike so Pako can come along for the ride.

“When we get to Kansas, I’m hoping it’s going to be something like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz and I can get someone to videotape it.”

Good luck to you and your little dog Pako!


The young shooters from Scottsdale-based Red Mountain Trap and Skeet club are at it again.

Several squads qualified for the national trap championships Aug. 5-7 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Ill. Last year, more than 1,600 youths from around the nation competed at the event.

The qualifying competition — the Commissioners’ Cup hosted April 28 at the Red Mountain club — featured some of Arizona’s top young shooters in four divisions.

“We have 20-24 coaches including Terry Abbott, John Olson and Jim Rasmussen. But our head coach is Jennifer Mennetti, who is also the range manager,” said Wayne Mennetti, who is married to Jennifer and also works at the range.

Jennifer Mennetti, who has worked at the range for 13 years, helped to get the youth program up and running three years ago and is what Wayne describes as the “point man” between the club and Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The Red Mountain Target Terminators won the junior varsity division (grades 9 to 12) with Garret Cobbs of Laveen, Justin Williams of Gilbert, Kaitlyn Borie of Phoenix, Hayden Edgmon of Queen Creek and Justin Ruggiero of Mesa hitting 941 out of 1,000 targets. Teams from Red Mountain also placed fourth, 11th and 12th.

In the intermediate division (grades 6 to 8), the squad of Kyle Joseph Sutter of Apache Junction, Nathan Kempton of Queen Creek, Kyle Johnson of Phoenix, Chase Perry of Phoenix and Tanner Kempton of Queen Creek hit 892 of 1,000 target to capture first place.

The Terminators also took home third-place honors with Ryan Kelly Bollinger of Phoenix, Hayden Jorde of Queen Creek, Quinton Moore of Higley, Christopher Vansickle of Glendale and Klay Wandelear of Queen Creek scoring 781 targets. Other Red Mountain squads finished fifth and 10th.

In the rookie division (grades 5 and under) the Central Arizona Target Shooters hit 323 of 500 targets for second place (Steven Shedd of Eloy, Austin Edwin Bradford of Casa Grande, Ray Kesler III of Case Grande, Davis Isaac of Casa Grande and Cory Cuevas of Casa Grande) followed by Chandler Rod and Gun with 307 (Everett Austin Barnes of Gilbert, Logan Kolodziej of Apache Junction, Austin Lee Madson of Mesa, Peter Mettler of Scottsdale and Kent Everett Thomas of Mesa).


Queen Creek Canyon State Academy took five students to compete at a power lifting meet against Salome on May 3, a first-ever for the all-boys 1A high school. Four of the five placed in the top three at the meet, which scores competitors on three lifts — the bench press, squat and dead lift.

Sophomore Dylan Johnson won first place at 220 pounds with a combined weight total of 815 pounds. Senior Aaron Brionnes (181) and sophomore DaVante Williams (165) both took second in their divisions with combined lifts of 965 and 855, respectively.

Sophomore Robert Baldwin took third, lifting 775 pounds in the 165-pound division.

Want to help?

Donations: www.teamdonatelife.com or www.8manraam.com

Incidentals: Team Primo can also use bicycle equipment; corporate support or food store gift cards (i.e. Circle K, 7-11) for things like water, ice, power bars, snack foods or other things that can help them out along the way,

More personal: Consider becoming an organ donor: visit www.donatelife.org

Know someone who deserves mention in East Valley Victories? E-mail or call Billye Jill Paulson at bpaulson@evtrib.com or (480) 898-6862.

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