ST. GEORGE — The “Red Mountain” poker run will be held Saturday to raise both awareness and funds to help fight teenage suicide, while also allowing participants to enjoy a ride through scenic Southern Utah on a course designed by Speedtech Performance.
The Red Mountain poker run is presented by Desert Sports Management that has teamed up with the Reach4Hope Coalition and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in a collaborative effort to raise awareness and address teenage suicide – which is still the leading cause of death among Utah youth ages 10-17, according to the Utah Department of Health. The run also provides the opportunity for participants to ride with hundreds of like-minded enthusiasts while taking in the breathtaking beauty of Gunlock Reservoir and surrounding areas.
The poker run will depart from Speedtech Performance USA, located at 4160 S. River Road at 10 a.m., and continue past Gunlock Reservoir and through the Snow Canyon area and then to Washington City, where participants can stop and enjoy chips and salsa at a restaurant in Veyo. The run will then continue into Sand Hollow before wrapping up back at Speedtech at 4 p.m. where participants can run the autocross.
There will also be cash prizes, a raffle, food trucks, music and a “Show and Shine” car show. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets can also be purchased online. The cost for each rider is $30 and $15 for each passenger.
Teen suicide in Utah
Last year, one person died every 13 minutes from suicide on average, and more than 660 Utahns die from suicide on any given year.
The beehive state also had the fifth-highest teen suicide rate in the country from 2017 to 2019, the most recent data available, according to a report released by the Utah Health Department in January.
Moreover, the Utah suicide rate has been consistently higher than the national rate for years. It is a serious public health concern for all age groups, but when it concerns a youth — it takes a massive toll due to the significant years of potential life lost.
The United Health Foundation also says that the number of suicidal ideations, attempts and completed suicides among youth are on the rise – and far more adolescents have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide and survive than those who die by suicide.
As those numbers continue to rise, so does the need to increase awareness and education – which is where the Reach4Hope Foundation comes in, an organization developed to reduce the number of suicides through a collaborative effort focused on raising awareness and education.
Another organization that is co-sponsoring the event is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Utah, a voluntary health organization that mobilized an effort to provide those affected by suicide with hope and strives to save lives. They also provide a community of support with chapters in every state and programs that stretch across the country.
Darren Nuttall, of Desert Sports Management and who spearheaded the event, said the collaboration between the organizations is a targeted effort to fight teen suicide and to bring awareness to a “big need in our community,” he said.
“Let’s do this together and save lives,” Nuttall said.
- What: Red Mountain Poker Run to help in the fight against teenage suicide in Utah.
- When: Saturday, June 12; registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the ride will begin at 10 a.m.
- Where: Speedtech Performance USA, located at 4160 S. River Road, St. George.
- Cost: The cost to enter is $30 for the rider and for each passenger is $15.
If you or someone you know is in danger because of suicidal thoughts or actions, call 911 immediately. Suicide is an emergency that requires help by trained medical professionals and should always be treated seriously.
Nationwide suicide hotlines, 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) and 1-800-273-TALK (8255), have counselors available 24/7. The Southwest Behavioral Health Center also offers help for Southern Utah residents; call 800-574-6763 or 435-634-5600.
Other resources include Suicide.org, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology. All provide comprehensive information and help on the issue of suicide, from prevention to treatment to coping with loss.
Editors note: Chips and salsa is being served at a restaurant in Veyo, not at Brio as was stated in the original report.
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