I often get asked how "To the Moon & Back" came to be. I have a good friend and longtime kindergarten teaching co-worker, Katy Cundall . Katy’s youngest daughter Kacey wanted to go on a mission trip with her church to Cambodia in 2012, when she was 16 years old. That is all she wanted for Christmas and Katy was no way going to let her go by herself. Therefore, Kacey got her wish and Katy joined her. Katy fell in love with the girls at Rapha House. ( She continues to go back each year to work with the girls. )
This however was the first time I had ever heard of Human Trafficking still existing. All I knew about was the Slaves in the history books. Katy and I decided to do a couple of different fundraisers at the school, we raised money by having the students “Chuck Your Change” and offering movies and treats after school. With this money Katy could take down supplies, when she went back to Cambodia.
After Katy’s second year, Rapha House came out with a documentary “Finding Home” (which is now available on Netflix). Katy and her husband Brent rented out our local movie theater. After watching that movie, I really didn’t sleep for the next week. I knew that somehow, I needed to make more money for these girls.
That Christmas I talked to my sisters, daughters, and nieces about what I had learned and what I wanted to do. Luckily, they were all willing to help in any way possible! After that I came up with three different options to raise money. (1) The first event failed miserably and I cancelled a week before the event. (2) The second event was a Ladies Night Out (dinner and raffle). We made $6,000 in 2015. In 2016 we made $10,000. 2017 we raised $17,000 and in 2018 we raised $20,000.
I had just got into cycling and was loving it. After reading articles on some of the big rides, I knew this had to be my third event. It seemed like the perfect option to only last one day and could raise A LOT of money to donate! I talked to every possible person that might give me a clue on what to expect and how to do it. Then came the route. Being from Vernal I thought of every possible route in Uintah County and no luck.
As a child, I grew-up in the summers on my grandparent’s farm in Tabiona. Along with my siblings we camped at Moon Lake several times and loved every minute in the High Uintah’s. So, the road trip began. It was a perfect century ride. I had found my route!!
Little did I know that I would only have 28 paid riders that year (2015) , we made $1,400 for Rapha House. I was a little discouraged about the profit. But on a positive note the riders came back so excited about the ride. In order to grow the ride I decided that I would equally spilt all registration fees and money from the raffle with Operation Underground Railroad. Tim Ballard the founder, was speaking all over Utah about Human Trafficking. Our second year (2016) we had 78 paid riders making almost $4,000. In 2017 we raised $4,000. In 2018 we raised $5,800. Every year , the riders came back saying, “I really think you guys have something amazing here. This is one of the best rides if not the best ride in Utah!”
The name symbolizes more than to Moon Lake and Back. It also symbolizes our goal for making $522,000.00 (the distance to the moon and back).
Thank YOU to all returning riders, I can’t say how much I appreciate you. I love getting to know each of you. Thank you for being with us from the start!
Also thank you to all those who have helped me along the way, I have soaked up every piece of advice offered.
A big THANK YOU to my wonderful husband (Gary Redden), all my family, and friends that are 100% behind me and these organizations.