Victory Motors shows drive for healthier Moffat County |

Victory Motors shows drive for healthier Moffat County

Cancer Drive includes 5K Color Run, Denver Broncos cheerleaders, NFL Play 60

Community members gather on the fields of Loudy-Simpson Park following the NFL Play 60 Challenge, which featured instruction from numerous professional football players as part of the Victory Motors Cancer Drive. The Saturday event was a fundraiser full of family activities, including a 5K Color Run and appearances by Denver Broncos cheerleaders, to raise money for Moffat County Cancer Society.
Andy Bockelman

When a problem presents itself, being able to tackle it as a community is a sign of strength.

The third annual Victory Motors Cancer Drive took place Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park as Craig residents of all ages turned out for the Moffat County Cancer Society fundraiser.

A rainbow-colored run

The day began early with the 5K Color Run/Walk around the perimeter of the park. With about 100 runners, most began with pristine white T-shirts, but few of them finished that way as volunteers at three stations doused the striders with multiple colors of dyed cornstarch, delivering another dose on the second lap to ensure no two people would look the same by the end of the race.

Top finishers included Carter Severson, Ashley Suits and Brandon Beason, all products of Moffat County High School’s cross country and track and field programs; each took cash prizes for their running. Following were recent MCHS graduates Cole Hoth, Steven Walls and Courtney Corbett.

Taking seventh was 8-year-old Brodie Wooden, who was joined by his older brother, Grady, 10, and parents Angela and Gerry in the run.

“We wanted to contribute to the cause, and we like to run as a family,” Gerry said. “It’s our first color run, too, so we really wanted to do that.”

Running the course but politely turning down the color part of the 5K was Bertha McMillen, who, at 76, has run marathons and more in her lifetime and plans to remain with the activity for a long time. This particular race also seemed a worthy one, she added.

“I saw it in the paper and thought, ‘I’ve got to do it,’” she said.

Teamwork makes dream work

As the day progressed, a number of special guests took over the festivities, including Denver BroncosDenver Broncos cheerleaders Lizzi and Gioia, who hosted a cheer clinic for the local spirit set, complete with routines set to music with a large turnout that included much of the roster of Moffat County Thunder Cheer. cheerleaders Lizzi and Gioia, who hosted a cheer clinic for the local spirit set, complete with routines set to music with a large turnout that included much of the roster of Moffat County Thunder Cheer.

Denver Broncos cheerleaders Lizzi and Gioia, who hosted a cheer clinic for the local spirit set, complete with routines set to music with a large turnout that included much of the roster of Moffat County Thunder Cheer.

Across the field, the NFL Play 60 Challenge was underway with more appearances from pros, led by retired Denver Bronco Rick Upchurch, who was joined by Le-Lo Lang and Greg Boyd, both of whom have also played for Denver.

Also guiding kids were Dwight Anderson, who has played in both the NFL and Canadian Football League, and Anthony Hargrove, who was part of the New Orleans Saints defensive corps for its championship in Super Bowl XLIV.

Young players ran drills ranging from balancing a ball between two kids to two-person sack races, all designed to emphasize the expression, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Angela Wooden said she loved having the activity for her sons, as well as similar sessions Thursday and Friday at MCHS.

“They were really lucky to have that kind of opportunity,” she said. “It’s such a positive environment for them.”

Stay active, stay healthy

Parents expecting to merely watch from the sidelines got more than they bargained for as the seasoned pros pulled them onto the field to engage in some of the high-energy fun, which Upchurch said is what programs such as Play 60 are all about — combating childhood obesity and other preventable health conditions with reasonable exercise and bringing families together through athletics.

“Let’s do it together as a family,” he said. “That’s how you win.”

The former football player also thanked the group of people he considers his own family: brothers Steve and Tony Maneotis and their sister, Irene Kitzman, whose cancer diagnosis inspired her siblings to start the fundraiser in 2014 through their business, Victory Motors.

“It hits every family in one way or another,” Steve said. “This is about everyone raising money for that person who couldn’t be here today.”

Tony Maneotis added that doing the fundraiser a little differently each year has kept it fresh; this year’s event also featured vendors, a silent auction and an autograph session set up at Loudy-Simpson.

“Out here is good with the 5K and the cheerleaders and NFL 60, it’s great that we can spread out,” he said.

Though not a Northwest Colorado resident, Upchurch has been an integral part of the event. The legendary Broncos receiver has had his own battles with cancer. He is currently in remission for chronic myeloid leukemia but still requires chemotherapy, and he and his wife, Donna, have made it their objective to live strong and live by example for others who struggle with the disease.

“When it hits, all you can do is be there for them,” Donna Upchurch said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or

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