This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
La Daynas Arellano and Crystal Walker aka Team Sister Wives have been vying for a spot on CBS's "Amazing Race." On Saturday, they'll be getting some practice by competing in Salt Lake City's new version, Urban Challenge Utah.
But no matter who crosses the finish line first, the real winners will be the sick children who have their wishes granted thanks to the money the contest will raise for Make-A-Wish Utah.
"It's really great to see these kids get to do things they would never be able to do because of their physical limitations and the financial strains from medical bills," Arellano said.
Her buddy, Walker, has a more personal tie to the nonprofit. After her sister fought leukemia at age 3 and again when she was 8, Make-A-Wish sent her and her family to Disney World.
"I lay awake at night wondering how my mom did it, to watch her child suffer," said Walker, who has two children, holding back tears. "I want to give them something to look forward to and help the parents and families going through it."
Make-A-Wish Utah decided to create the race after learning that Make-A-Wish of Idaho had raised $47,000 last year from its Ultimate Urban Challenge.
"It is a perfect event for a place like Utah because the people are active and outdoorsy," program manager Jessica Rogers said.
The challenge is based on a points system. Teams earn points for fundraising, recruiting teams, wearing costumes, promoting event awareness and completing challenges during the race. The team with the most points will be crowned champion and will be rewarded with a yet-to-be-disclosed prize.
Teams can walk, bike or use public transportation to get around, but can't use cars.
Rogers said she couldn't reveal too many details but said teams can expect to travel 5 to 10 miles. "It all depends on what route you take," Rogers said. "If you're smart you'll make it five."
The cost of registration, which goes directly to helping sick children, is $125, Rogers said. She hopes to sign up at least 150 teams, which would bring in up to $18,750 from registration alone.
While the cost of granting a wish varies, Rogers said the average cost is about $5,000.
In the past, Make-A-Wish of Utah held an annual golf tournament, which usually collected $30,000 to $40,0000, according to Rogers, but it decided to replace the event because it was limited to golfers.
Dave and Dan McAtee, aka the Wonder Twins, were excited to hear Make-A-Wish was steering away from the conventional fundraisers the two have joined in the past. "I thought it sounded like something new and fun," Dave said.
In fact, the Wonder Twins are skipping a golf tournament they have played in recent years to be in the race.
Dave, who is expecting a daughter with his wife, Christine, in August and has helped with Make-A-Wish's Rubber Ducky Derby, said organizations like Make-A-Wish play an important role. "Children are so innocent so I think their cause is a bit above some other causes," Dave said.
They haven't settled on a costume yet, but are considering dressing up like the '90s rock band Nelson or Dr. Suess' Thing 1 and Thing 2. "Not too many know about Nelson so we don't know if people will get it," laughed Dan.
Join the challenge
O For race and donation information, visit urbanchallengeutah.com. See the Sister Wives team video by selecting "Sister Wives" in playlist.