Story by Ike Dodson, CDCR PIO
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Photos by Division of Adult Parole Operations staff

It took over 18 hours and 120 miles of pavement March 17-18, but parole agents and administrators throughout the state completed 20 stages of “blood, sweat, pride and honor” along Highway 160, from Baker, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada in the Challenge Cup Relay known to participants as the Baker 2 Vegas Challenge Cup Relay run.

CDCR’s Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) staff joined the field of 8,000 runners to raise funds and awareness for Slavery No More, a California-based nonprofit organization that works to combat and abolish modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

DAPO staff collected gift cards, clothes and hygiene kits before and after the race. The items will be given to survivors of human trafficking.

The fundraising efforts and two continuous days of running were made possible by a dedicated team of runners and volunteers.

“This year’s team did a fantastic job,” Parole Agent I and team captain Mireya Audet said. “Everyone ran their hearts out and the volunteers worked hard. The team had an undeniable spirit and showed great pride.

“It is always such an honor to spend a few days representing our division with a great group of friends. This year’s team really came together and had a sense of family.”

The team finished the course with a time of 18 hours, 2 minutes, and finished 195th in a field of approximately 300 law enforcement teams.

“We came so close to breaking 18 hours,” Audet added. “I know we will accomplish it in 2019. The competition was absolutely brutal.

“With weather at its best and very cool temperatures all of the teams ran so much faster. We even had a sprinkle of snow on leg 14.”

The 32-year Baker 2 Vegas record was broken by the Los Angeles Police Department team this year with their winning time of just 12:37.

Audet said the team benefited from an eager field of first-time runners.

“They were new to Baker 2 Vegas and new to the division,” she said. “What makes this so special is meeting the next generation of parole agents. We want them to feel a part of this great agency and feel supported by their peers on and off the course.

“Baker 2 Vegas brings out the very best in all of us, and it challenges us in every aspect of team building. I think every participant leaves the weekend with a sense of accomplishment and division pride.”

Audet also thanked DAPO’s executive and administrative staff for their support and team sponsors ― The Parole Agents Association of California and The National Latino Peace Officers Association ―for their donations.

Participating DAPO staff provided the insight featured below:

“My Baker 2 Vegas experience was definitely an exciting challenge which I enjoyed very much. Though I was informed about the course leg assigned to me, I was still unsure as to how to better prepare myself for it. On the day of the race, during the first half mile of my run, I found myself asking, ‘What did you get yourself into Brandon?’ The run was extremely challenging, given the change in elevation and the steep incline. However, I was motivated by my team members early on, well before the race. Also, I knew in the back of my head that my brother, who had ran the leg before me, did exceptionally well… This also motivated me to push myself. Overall, I had a great experience with the Baker 2 Vegas race. The thrill of the race, the tough competition and the comradery between teammates all made for an awesome trip. I can’t wait to be back next year.” – Brandon Lugar, Parole Agent I, San Francisco

“I had a great time! It was an honor to run with my fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters of this great nation and from around the world. It’s an incredible experience! You experience an array of different feelings as you view the desert hills, mountains and the never-ending road. I loved the challenge! I encourage anyone in the law enforcement community to either participate as a runner or as a volunteer.” – Jose Manzo, Parole Agent I, Pomona

“I enjoyed driving the van and loved the view of the desert. I had never been on that road. I enjoyed meeting other officers from Canada and LAPD.  Everyone was friendly and I got to see an old friend who I have not seen since my parole academy 11 years ago. The team was great ― they were all friendly and helpful.” – Dinael Martinez, Parole Agent I, San Jose

The 2019 race team is already preparing for next year’s grueling run. Staff interested in running or volunteering can contact Audet at Mireya.Audet@cdcr.ca.gov to inquire about participating.

“We hope to come back next year bigger, stronger and faster as we try to improve our overall standing,” Audet said.

DAPO’s 2018 runners

  • Leg 1:  Jose Vizcarra, PAI, Escondido
  • Leg 2:  Lupe Sanchez, PAII CPAT, Southern Region
  • Leg 3:  Justin Luger, PAI, Stockton
  • Leg 4:  Brandon Lugar, PAI, San Francisco
  • Leg 5: Delena Gregory
  • Leg 6:  Jaime Valdez, PAI, Salinas
  • Leg 7: Danny Contreras, C PAT, Southern Region
  • Leg 8: Jose Manzo, PAI, Pomona
  • Leg 9: Alex Rosario, PA, I El Monte
  • Leg 10: Tina Rivero, PAI, Van Nuys
  • Leg 11: Ron Warner, PAII, San Bernardino
  • Leg 12 :Luke Ray, PAI, Southern Region CPAT
  • Leg 13: Vincent Xaysana, SGT, CHCF
  • Leg 14: Onyanga Dean, PAII, Bakersfield
  • Leg 15:  John Fitzgerald, PAII, Parole HQ
  • Leg 16: Jason Colarusso, Special Agent Parole, HQ
  • Leg 17: Fernando Mata, PAIII, Woodland
  • Leg 18: Tramaine Williams, PAIII, San Luis Obispo
  • Leg 19: Casey Lopez, PAI, Van Nuys
  • Leg 20: Ryan Turner, PAI, El Monte

Alternate runners

  • Chris Hernandez, PAIII, El Monte
  • Richard Audet, PAI, Pomona
  • Mireya Audet, PAI, San Gabriel I

Team Captains

  • Mireya Audet
  • Rick Audet
  • Onyanga Dean

Volunteers

  • Dianel Martinez PAI, San Jose
  • Cynthia Hernandez, Case Records, South
  • Ralph Sanders, PAI, Van Nuys
  • Chris Ochoa, PAI, Mid City
  • Denise Alvarez, PAI, LAC4
  • Antoinette Alvarez
  • James Crabtree, PAI, Retired
  • Nina Crabtree
  • Nicole Hemeniz, CO, CHCF