From Texas To Alaska, Cyclists Pass Through Mesquite


Twenty two Texas 4000 college students arrived in Mesquite at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12 and were greeted by Virgin River Casino Hotel General Manager, Marty Rapson. Mesquite Gaming stepped up to the plate and donated overnight accommodations at the Virgin River Hotel Casino. Also on hand to welcome them were Mesquite Cancer HELP Society’s Yoli Bell, Allen Bell, Lorraine Scharff and Bob Scharff.

The cyclists started their journey at the University of Texas, Austin and are cycling 4,500 of the 6.500 miles to Anchorage, Alaska. Their mission is to bring awareness and make themselves known as advocates of cancer research. LIVESTRONG and Pfizer Oncology are key sponsors.

Each student is required to raise $4,500 for their trip and meet certain criteria. Out of hundreds who sign up only 100 students are finally selected.

In its 10th year, participants of Texas 4000 must commit to a rigorous 18 month training and conditioning program. There are currently three UT Austin teams cycling. All three teams are headed for Anchorage, Alaska but take different routes in an effort to connect with people in cities, large and small, making themselves known as Texas 4000 and bringing cancer awareness.

Caption: Left, Marty Rapson, General Manager Virgin River Casino Hotel, and Yoli Bell, right, Mesquite Cancer HELP Society, welcome 22 cyclists making their way from Texas to Alaska to raise awareness of cancer research.

Aside from raising monies, each student must do volunteering and fundraising, stay in outstanding shape and must ride 1,500 miles before qualifying for the actual trip from Austin to Alaska.

“We ride an average of 70 miles per day (7-8hrs) but it can be as much as 100 miles (like today)” says, Akanksha, Sierra Traveler Coordinator. ” Wow, the winds were horrendous which is why we peddled extra hard and arrived a bit late into Mesquite,” said most cyclists.

Another question posed was, “How many outfits do you carry?” Their response was, “We are allowed a large bag and all our clothes, shoes, and everything must fit into it – no exception.

“What were your highlights”? Students loved the scenery and traveled through Page, AZ. There they were greeted by city officials, were treated to dinner in Kanab, UT and “the Chief of Police in Springdale, UT was awesome and covered our meals. Arriving in Mesquite and being greeting a the front desk by Ms. Rapson and Mrs. Bell really made us feel welcome.”

“Folks in small cities are so wonderful. The manner in which they have welcomed us has been fantastic,” stated Buck, Texas 4000 ride director.

“These students range in age from 19 to 24 and could not be more representative of outstanding, goal-oriented, polite and responsible young adults. It was an honor to have them in Mesquite, chat and enjoy dinner with them,” said Yoli Bell, Mesquite Cancer HELP Society Director.

Mesquite Citizen Journal