Victory Motors Cancer Drive scores in bonding Craig community |

Victory Motors Cancer Drive scores in bonding Craig community

Victory Motors salesman Wyatt Oberwitte and business owner Steve Maneotis join former Denver Broncos during an autograph session Saturday at Victory Motors. Pictured, from left, are Rick Upchurch, Oberwitte, Le-Lo Lang, Maneotis, Chris Young, and Charlie Adams.
Andy Bockelman/staff

CRAIG — The fifth annual Victory Motors Cancer Drive’s Saturday activities provided plenty of pro athletes, high-stakes gaming, and, most importantly, money brought in for a worthy cause.

The yearly fundraiser by the auto dealership on behalf of Moffat County Cancer Society featured a casino night at Quality Inn & Suites, complete with blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette tables.

The bets were big, as were the bids on the evening’s silent auction on sports and entertainment memorabilia.

Earlier in the day, the sales floor at Victory Motors was swamped with community members eager to meet and mingle with special guests as part of an autograph session with numerous former players for the Denver Broncos.

Among those representing the orange and blue were retired players Rick Upchurch — who played for Denver from 1975 to 1983 — Le-Lo Lang (1990 to 1993), Greg Boyd (1980 to 1982), Ron Egloff (1977 to 1983), Dave Studdard (1979 to 1988), Jon Keyworth (1974 to 1980), Billy Van Heusen (1968 to 1976), Chris Young (2003 to 2005) and Charlie Adams (2003 to 2005).

Upchurch, himself a cancer survivor, has lent his support to the Craig event since its inception. He was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in 2011.

Numerous former teammates have been quick to stand behind him and be part of the Northwest Colorado project, and Lang, Boyd, Egloff, and Studdard have visited Craig multiple times in recent years for the Cancer Drive and football clinics.

“We were teammates for three years, but we’ve been friends for even longer,” Boyd said of Upchurch. “It’s wonderful, all the stuff they’re doing.”

Family members of former Broncos are also glad to get in on the effort. Claudia Keyworth said she and husband Jon are glad to support such a fundraiser, one of many they join.

“We really want to support Rick and the cause, and we were just out at a charity event in Idaho for Search and Rescue,” she said. “We want to do anything we can for a good cause.”

Family is largely the reason Victory Motors began its Cancer Drive, which also includes a Sunday golf tournament. The event came from brothers Steve and Tony Maneotis looking for a way to support their sister and fellow owner of the dealership Irene Kitzman when she was diagnosed with the disease.

“She just had a check-up and after five years they moved her check-ups to every few years instead of every six months,” Steve said. “You’ve gotta be thankful for her to be able to have that new lease on life.”

He noted that the Cancer Drive has been another way for Craig to bond as a community.

“Sometimes we get so caught up in everyday hustle and bustle, we’ve gotta slow down and say, ‘what’s going on?’ and does somebody need help,” he said. “I think this is is a great way to make a difference, and I hope that we are able to help a lot of families. There’s nobody better than our community when it comes to supporting things like this.”