More than 600 participants and 57 teams took part this year
Taft's Fourth Annual Relay for Life was another success, drawing hundreds of people to the Taft Union High School track over the weekend for 24-hours of fun and fundraising.
When it was all over Sunday morning, 57 teams and more than 600 participants had raised just under $100,000 for the American Cancer Society to help in the fight against the disease.
Mayor Randy Miller helped open the event.
“We're going to pick a fight with cancer, and we're going to kick its butt!” he told the enthusiastic crowd that gathered in front of the stage during Saturday morning’s opening ceremony.
The relay itself started with the triumphant survivors walk, led by 15-year testicular cancer survivor Taylor Jones, who was accompanied by daughter Lily and son Hadley as he led the purple-shirted survivors around the track.
His wife, Shannon, who helped organize the survivor events, placed the survivor medal around his neck at the end of the lap.
Relay ended 24 hours later with the defiant “Fight Back” lap led by the relay committee and the die-hards still on hand.
In between, it was a nonstop carnival with music, games, contests and even movies for the participants to pass the time while they rested between turns on the track.
Two members of the local band Good Question – Ryan Coulter and Taylor Unruh – performed on stage, along with a dozen acts competing in the “Taft's Got Talent” competition.
There was also the popular “Dude Looks Like A Lady” contest, which drew a huge crowd to the stage at the south end of the infield.
At 8:30 a.m. Sunday, organizers counted $99,535 total money raised by the 2012 relay.
Kisers Kicking Cancer was the team leader with $8,843. The Taft Fastrip team was second with $5,811, followed by the Cuyama Valley Booster Club ($4,718), Team All-Stars ($4,130) and Teachers Against Cancer ($3,657).
Laura Price, captain of the Cuyama Valley Boosters team, won the best team captain award.
Debbie Kiser, a cancer survivor who is the driving force behind the Kisers Kicking Cancer team, was named the top participant.
Nanette Powell (Team All-Stars), Laura Price, LaNell Howell and Christine Mendiburu were also given awards.
Blue Jeans and Bling was recognized as the best rookie team for “going above and beyond the call,” event chair Lisa Brown said.
The Taft Midway-Sunset Lions got the award for best camp food, Crossing Out Cancer won the team spirit award, and David's Dawgs got the special “Golden Pillowcase Award.”