Why We Ride – Three Rivers Race

Last year, after the girls and I rode in the Three Rivers Race, I said that I would explain why the race is so important to us.  I posted a slideshow about The Riders, and I wrote another post explaining our team name, Old and Bold, and the process of making The Shirts.  Unfortunately, my summer got crazy and out of hand, and I never got around to explaining the race’s importance.

Reagan, Benjamin (my nephew), and Harley riding in the Three River’s Race 2012

This year, prior to the Three Rivers Race, the local paper, The LaGrande Observer, ran an article featuring the story of our team and the story of another team, Run Kathy Run.  The article explains our story so well, I am going to post it here.

3 Rivers Race Against Domestic Violence

Event has special meaning for ‘Old and Bold’ cycling team

Amy Betts and her daughters Harley and Reagan, who all live in Cove, will be participating in the 3 Rivers Race Against Domestic Violence on Saturday as members of the team “Old and Bold.” Amy’s sister was a victim of spousal abuse but has since recovered after receiving help from Shelter From the Storm. Submitted photo

Many entrants in the annual 3 Rivers Race Against Domestic Violence on Saturday have powerful tales, to share, stories of victims, courage, and survival.

Few are more inspirational than one told by members of “Old and Bold,’’ a Cove-based team that will participate in the race for a sixth consecutive year.

The team was founded by Donna and Burr Betts of Cove, the parents of a daughter who suffered from escalating    physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband. Their daughter, after several years, finally walked out with her three children and went to Shelter From the Storm. There she received counseling that turned her life around.

“We so appreciate what they did,’’ said Donna Betts, speaking of Shelter From the Storm, which is the Union County beneficiary of funds raised by the 3 Rivers Race Against Domestic Violence.

Betts said her daughter was “incredibly self-confident’’ before her marriage sent her into a downward spiral. By the time she moved out, she was a shell of her former self.

“She was beaten down emotionally,’’ Donna Betts said.

Then the staff at Shelter From the Storm worked its magic.

“We (her parents) could not have done what they did. We were not trained to,’’ Donna Betts said.

Donna and Burr Betts will be among the seven members of the “Something Old, Something Bold’’ team that will again participate in the 3 Rivers Race as bicyclists.

Donna and Burr Betts will be joined by another daughter, Amy, who is not the victim of domestic abuse, along with her two children, Harley and Reagan, plus the Betts’ grandchildren, Benjamin and Konrad Chrzanowski.

Donna Betts is excited about the chance to again reach out and help Shelter From the Storm.

“I have seen way too much domestic violence in this world. In my perfect world, we wouldn’t need Shelter From the Storm. But, as long as we do, we will support their work.’’

The members of the La Grande team Run Kathy Run, which also will be participating in the 3 Rivers Race, also have a poignant story to tell, one of tragedy.

The Run Kathy Run team will be participating to keep alive the name of a woman, “Kathy,’’ who died in 2004 at age 33 in New Jersey when her husband stabbed her to death in a murder-suicide.

Sharon Evoy and her husband Jerry Sebestyen, who founded the Run Kathy Run team about six years ago, are good friends of Kathy’s parents, who live in Mollala.

Evoy and Sebestyen created the Run Kathy Run team to help keep the woman’s memory alive.

“We wanted to honor her life in some way,” Evoy said.

Kathy’s parents were so moved by the Run Kathy Run team’s salute to their daughter that they came to La Grande in 2007 to participate in the 3 Rivers Race.

Evoy said that what happened to Kathy caused Evoy and her husband to focus on the importance of domestic violence centers like Shelter From the Storm.

“It is important that we keep Shelter From the Storm alive,” Evoy said. “ … It is very important to the community.”

Shelter From the Storm is one of three domestic violence centers that will benefit from money raised via the Three Rivers Race.

The others are Safe Harbors of Enterprise and May Day of Baker City.

Sixty people are signed up for the 3 Rivers Race as of this morning and there is still time for more to enter.

A registration session will run from 4-6 p.m. today at The Mountain Works, 1307 Adams Ave. People can register the morning of the race but are encouraged by race officials to register today.

All races start at Pioneer Park. The bicycling events begin at 6 a.m. and the running events start at 10 a.m. and noon.

Additional information is available at 3riversrace.com.

I am so grateful for the help my sister, Erika, and my nephews received from Shelter From the Storm, and I will continue to work to help Shelter as long as I am able.