Participants of the T-Rex Races line up in their costumes at the starting line on July 26. The T-Rex Races is a charity event to benefit the Quesada family. // Photo by Calvin Lowe
On Friday July 26, adults, college students, teens and little kids suited up in inflatable dinosaur costumes to race across the Sudden Valley Golf & Country Club golf course. Proceeds from this event went directly to a local family facing cancer.
After seeing a viral video of T-Rex races at Emerald Downs, RE/MAX branch manager and broker Sommer Cronck thought to post as a joke in the Sudden Valley Facebook group that she would be hosting a similar event.
She said that if 10 people will commit to being in the race, Cronck would buy the dinosaur costumes. People said they would run, so Cronck bought the costumes.
Cronck started with buying only 10 costumes, however, the event got shared on Facebook so many times that she ended up buying a total of 25, ranging from T-Rexs, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus and little ‘Tinysaurs’ for the kids. According to Cronck, with the 25 costumes the event had at least seven heats and around 70 racers.
“I expected 10 neighbors to show up and run on the golf course like a couple of loons and that was gonna be the end of it,” Cronck said. “This is not at all how I expected it to go, but it’s worked out pretty well.”
Cronck hopes to have another T-Rex racing event in the future, she thinks next time she’ll be more prepared and organized.
One of the T-Rex racers, Lukas Lozano, heard about the event because his brother shared the Facebook page with him, asking if he wanted to go. The two decided in the spur of the moment to participate in the race together.
Lozano said that running in the T-Rex costume was harder than he expected, saying his suit was a little small. He said he was excited to see how goofy it looked and to dance in it.
“I went in with the mindset that I’m going to give it all I got and I gave it all I got,” Lozano said. “I don’t know what place I got, totally fine, this a T-Rex race.”
To run in a dinosaur costume, racers paid $10. Those who watched the races attended for free and donations were encouraged.
Josh Quesada, a father of five, is currently battling stage IV colon cancer which has now metastasized to his brain. According to Cronck, the proceeds from the T-Rex races went directly to the Quesada family, as well as half of the prize pool from a horse race social that was going on at the golf club at the same time as the event races.
Amy Bowhay, Cronck’s buyer specialist, asked Cronck if she had any ideas for a fundraiser for her family friends, the Quesadas. Cronck said that she had this dinosaur race idea that had gotten bigger than she had anticipated and she was sure they could raise funds off of it.
Jen Quesada, Josh’s wife, said that the T-Rex races were the perfect event for their family.
“I think it’s hilarious,” Jen Quesada said. “We’re very funny – humor is big to us. So this is just the perfect thing for us after such a hard week.”
Of the Quesada’s five children, the three oldest competed, followed by the youngest being carried across the field during one of the ‘Tinysaur’ races.
Jen Quesada has had the GoFundMe posted for over a year, at first, hoping to raise money to cover her husband’s medical bills that insurance wouldn’t cover. Now the goal is to help Jen so she doesn’t have to work as much or at all and is able to spend time with her family, she said.
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Jen Quesada said. “The longer I cannot work, the more we can put money towards maybe taking that trip, the memory trip and getting bills paid. I mean, everything counts.”
The goal on the Quesada’s GoFundMe is $15,000 and they are now at $9,590.
According to Jen Quesada people have dropped off envelopes of cash and others in the community have visited her at work and brought things to her there.
She added that knowing so many people have come out to support her family is humbling, overwhelming and unexpected. “We’re just very, very grateful,” Jen said. “Bellingham is a special place.”