Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Centerville cyclist ready for Huntsman SportsFest

Jun 06, 2022 01:26PM ● By Tom Haraldsen

The 12th annual Huntsman SportsFest, benefitting the Huntsman Cancer Institute, is set for Saturday, June 11. It started as something a bit different back in 2010, when Centerville resident Larry Peterson and some fellow cyclists linked up with HCI to create the fundraising event, both as a way to pay back and pay forward.

“After I moved to Centerville in 2006, I became acquainted with Jeff Warren, who had been treated at Huntsman back in 2003,” Peterson recalled. “We were both avid cyclists and he wanted to give back to Huntsman for the treatment he’d received. So in 2007, we began a multi-day ride from Reno to Salt Lake City to raise money.” 

The last leg of that ride was from Delta to Salt Lake City – 140 miles. In 2010, they started the Delta-SLC ride as the Huntsman 140. About 100 riders took part in the initial ride. And the ride’s reputation grew but accommodations in Delta were limited, so Peterson and the team changed to a ride to Elberta-and-back event. That added even more riders, and Peterson began fielding questions about other activities people were interested in as a way to raise money – running, walking, swimming. Huntsman organizers added new distances for the ride, and three years ago, it “was no longer just a bike ride – it was a SportsFest,” he said. Along the way, with those added activities, a lot more money was raised and many more got involved.

And then, in 2012, Peterson himself became a beneficiary.

“Little did I know that I would develop prostate cancer and end up getting treatment at the Institute,” he said. “As a participant and a cancer survivor, I really got to see how advanced the programs are at Huntsman. This really is the right place and the right time for all the amazing things they do at HCI.”

Peterson, who is 78, moved to Utah after retiring from a career with Dupont in Delaware. He keeps busy and healthy by cycling – lots of it. He rode over 18,000 miles in 2021 and will exceed that total this year. He’s ridden LOTOJA (Logan to Jackson Hole) many times – won it three times, placed second twice and third once in his Masters 60+ category. He participates in the Huntsman Senior Games annually. He’s always enjoyed cycling but didn’t become an avid rider until he moved to Utah.

“This state is so unique for cycling – beautiful mountains and lots of flat places as well,” he said. Since 2007, he has ridden from Reno to Salt Lake City each year, and this summer he and his friends will make a ride from Ashton, Idaho to Salt Lake (four days, 400 miles) in conjunction with the SportsFest.

“The roads have been much the same every year, but of course the elements change,” he said. “Rain, snow, wind, heat and cold – it varies all the time. Every year has something that’s memorable. The first year, someone greeted me at the starting line with a HCI Bear, and I wear it every year. It’s sort of the mascot for the ride.”

Last year, the Huntsman SportsFest, which will include new activities this year such as yoga and HIGH fitness options, raised $509,000 for HCI. That included some virtual activities still available this year. The daylong event will take place at Fort Douglas Field on the University of Utah campus, and registration is open through midnight on June 8 at Donations can also be made to the program.

“The Ride from Reno team, as we call ourselves, has been the top fundraising team since we started,” Peterson said. “We’ve set examples of endurance, commitment and leadership, and we’re proud to be helping the Institute with its mission.” l