Go Play: Kokopelli Trail Run to raise funds for Mesa County Search & Rescue | PostIndependent.com

Go Play: Kokopelli Trail Run to raise funds for Mesa County Search & Rescue

Brittany Markert
The Sheriff's Posse team and a helicopter work together during a training session for Mesa County Search and Rescue.
Submitted photo |


WHAT: Kokopelli Trail Run

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 23, 7 a.m.

WHERE: Kokopelli Trailhead, Loma, Colo. off Interstate 70, Exit 15

COST: $35 for 8-mile, day-of; $55 for 16-mile, day-of

INFO: http://www.mcsargt.com or call 970-270-6174

When Mary Thom injured her ankle during a ski trip at Grand Mesa’s Old Powderhorn area last year, Mesa County Search and Rescue saved the day.

According to Thom, her boyfriend was able move her to a safer spot in unpatrolled back country; then they called 911. Eventually a search-and-rescue crew located the Grand Junction couple in threatening weather and transported them back to their car.

“It’s a great thing they exist,” Thom said. “I’m very grateful they are here to help when needed.”

To support Mesa County Search and Rescue services, its ground team founded Kokopelli Trail Run eight years ago. This year’s event is set for Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Kokopelli Trailhead in Loma, Colo. Runners can attempt the eight- or 16-mile race, which runs on segments of Mary’s Loop, Mack Ridge, and Steve’s Loop. The 16-mile race starts at 7 a.m. and costs $50, or $55 for same-day registration. The eight-mile race starts at 7:30 a.m. and costs $30, or $35 for same-day registration.

Last year, the ground team made almost $6,000 and hopes to do the same this year, if not better. Anywhere from 75-90 runners are expected to race.


Mesa County Search and Rescue’s team is made up of more than 200 volunteers supporting six groups — ground, ATV, posse (horseback), communication, boat, and rope. The ground team is the largest group, around 100 currently, with some overlapping with other groups. All volunteers dedicate time to locate people who are lost, injured, or no longer living.

“There are members who are very dedicated and spend a lot of time away from family to benefit the community,” Search and Rescue’s president Ken Sanders said.

All volunteers must purchase and use their own equipment, plus rely on donations, to do missions each year. Whenever Search and Rescue is called out, no one is charged a fee (unless it’s deemed negligent or criminal in some way).

“It’s a very rewarding volunteer organization,” said Doug Sieckert, who volunteers as part of both the ground and water team.

Mesa County Search and Rescue teams also work closely with Mesa County Sheriff’s Office to find folks in need. Calls to 911 and the Sheriff’s Office are diverted to rescue teams once an emergency call is received.

To become a member, volunteers must apply, specifying which team they’d like to be on. Once accepted, a 10-week training process on Thursdays and every other Saturday is required.

According to Sieckert, members must be able to carry a 35-pound pack up Mount Garfield and back down and must complete it in four hours or less. Volunteers are also CPR and First Aid certified. Continued training is required six days a month.

Mesa County Search and Rescue members “deserve praise because they were so professional when they helped me out,” Thom said. “It has inspired me to donate to help them out.”

For more information, visit http://www.mcsargt.com or call 970-270-6174.

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