The Los Angeles Police Revolver & Athletic Club, Inc.
The Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay History
(“Just the Facts Ma’am”)
The Challenge Cup/Baker to Vegas Relay (road race) was the vision of Officer Chuck Foote, then General Manager of the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club, Inc. (LAPRAAC) and Officer Larry Moore, then LAPD Athletic Director. Its predecessor, the LAPD Metro Division’s Death Valley Relay, established the format still in use today.
The 1st Challenge Cup Relay Start Line was located on California Highway 127 in front of Baker High School, Baker California. The Finish Line was on Nevada Highway 160 at the intersection of the Blue Diamond (cut off), 119 miles away (the Death Valley Relay was 119 miles), just 13 miles short of Las Vegas, Nevada. At the conclusion of the race, all nineteen (19) teams gathered at the Finish Line. What a sight! 400 people standing in the desert dirt, next to a camper, along the highway. The Awards Ceremony was conducted by the then Police Chief, Daryl F. Gates. The highway traffic was flying by, but we didn’t care. We were in our own world, doing our thing. LAPD Central Division was the overall winner that first year.
In 1986 the Starting Line was moved 18 miles up the road from Baker and the Finish Line was moved to the Hacienda Hotel. The Hotel’s marquee read “Welcome LAPD Challenge Cup Relay - Finish Line.” It was Big Time, Las Vegas style. The Hacienda Hotel Convention Center was bursting at the seams where over 2,000 runners, volunteers, and spectators came to the Awards Ceremony. The race was in town just a few hours and already it had outgrown the Hacienda Hotel. Although the Finish Line remained at the Hacienda Hotel (until the Hotel’s demise in 1996) the Awards Ceremony has moved about town like a hobo looking for a home. In 1987, the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay (as it is called today) suffered its first setback when the race was halted at leg number 14 due to blizzard conditions on NV Highway 160 over Mountain Springs Pass. Needless to say, once the race was halted, many dejected people went home and only 2500 attended the Awards Ceremony. This was the first year of nine years that the Sahara Hotel would be the host hotel of the Awards Ceremony.
The LAPD Training/Air Support Division won the race. They were ahead at the time the race was stopped and awarded the Short Course Victory. A Victory is a Victory, or so the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s have been told (LASD was favored that year, 1987). The 1987 race is still talked about today, as the most infamous victory. The cancellation of the event (mid-race) caused a trickle down effect whereby many dejected participants returned home and did not attend the Awards Ceremony. Therefore, merchandise purchased, i.e.: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc. went unsold causing the race to lose over $6,000.
In 1987, the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club stepped in and bailed out the event and now is the sole owner and host of the Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay. As host, LAPRAAC has ensured the success of the race. Today it is regarded as the largest law enforcement event of its kind in the world with teams participating from Australia, England, Canada, and the Navajo Nation as well as throughout the United States. The Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay is truly an international event, and is considered by many to be one of the most positive events offered to law enforcement officers today. It offers participants a opportunity to maintain a physical fitness program so as to help them better perform their duties.
In relay form, will challenge the course leading from 26 miles North of Baker California on Highway 127 to Shoshone; turn N/E on CA Highway 178, cross the State Line to Nevada on Highway 372 into Pahrump Nv, Head S/E on NV Highway 160 and finish at the Las Vegas Hotel & Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.
Fun will be had by all! And the most common phrase heard within the conversation’s roar during the Awards Ceremony and at the Post Race party is, “Wait ‘till next year!”
There you have it. The story of the largest police foot pursuit of it’s kind in the world!
“The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
So help my Asics Tigers (Nike, Adidas, etc.)!