Although the Ride to the Springs benefit motorcycle event has had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings, Austin Evans, left, and Richard Sturgeon of the Jemez Riders are at Sullivan Field from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday selling raffle tickets for a 30-minute helicopter ride donated by Classic Air Medical. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The Jemez Riders Motorcycle Group was slated to hold their second annual Ride to the Springs Saturday, Aug. 1 as they continue to raise funds for medical expenses for Wyatt Taylor, a young La Cueva man who was seriously injured in a tragic accident in December 2017 which left him hospitalized for several months.
Due to the governor’s restrictions on mass gatherings, the Aug. 1 event has been canceled however, the raffle for a 30-minute helicopter ride that has been generously donated by Classic Air Medical, will still be held Aug. 1. The helicopter ride will be for the raffle winner and two guests and will leave from Los Alamos Airport.
Organizers are selling tickets today, Friday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Sullivan Field Parking Lot and also on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday in the same location.
Tickets are $10 each or three for $20. The Los Alamos Reporter is also selling tickets and anyone interested may call (505) 412-8739 to make arrangements.
Three years after the accident, Taylor still faces multiple medical procedures and his family is struggling with the both the medical expenses and the cost of travel out of state treatment. The Jemez Riders have been raising funds periodically to help out and were excited about the Aug. 1 event and are disappointed that it had to be canceled.
“Our disappointment is nothing when compared to the struggles and disappointments Wyatt and his family have faced,” Jemez Riders president Richard Sturgeon said Saturday. “We are appealing to the generosity of the community and encouraging people to buy the raffle tickets.”
When the accident happened, Taylor was headed out on his ATV to feed the family’s horses at a remote pasture. He was riding on the side of the road when his ATV hit a rock causing him to lose control of the steering. The ATV rolled down over an embankment and a barbed wire fence and into a ditch. Thrown off the ATV, he ended up pinned underneath with his face forced against the a tire. The ATV was pinned into the engaged position which left the tire spinning relentlessly against his face.
Family members reported that Wyatt heard three cars go by before realizing that he was not in view of the road and that it was up to him to save himself. Somehow, he managed to free himself after the ATV engine stopped, hike up a hill and make his way a quarter of a mile to the closest house.
Wyatt sustained full-thickness burns down to the bone on the right side of his face from the top of his head to his jawline, with major damage to his right eye and the right side of his nose as well as full-thickness burns to his left hand and arm.
Taylor and his family have strong ties to Los Alamos and the surrounding area. Wyatt is a junior firefighter with the all-volunteer La Cueva Fire Department where his father,Lee, and mother, Michelle have been involved for many years. Lee and Michelle both graduated from Los Alamos High School.Wyatt’s grandparents Ginny and Gerry Taylor and Tom and Elaine Brunton live in Los Alamos and both grandfathers retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory. Wyatt has three grown sisters, Courtney, Vanessa and Kirsten.