Breckenridge Texan

Family talks about Sloan Everett and their dedication to this weekend’s annual bike ride in his memory

Family talks about Sloan Everett and their dedication to this weekend’s annual bike ride in his memory
October 31
10:49 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

For the past five years, Jim and Teresa Everett have gathered with family and friends in the Breckenridge City Park for a bicycle ride in memory of their son, Sloan Everett. This year’s Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride will be Saturday, Nov. 5.

It is a bittersweet event for the family, as they, at once, celebrate the life of and grieve the loss of Sloan.

Last week, Jim and Teresa and their daughter Elizabeth invited the Breckenridge Texan into their home to talk about Sloan, the boy he was and the man he became. They joyfully — and sometimes tearfully — recounted his childhood antics and marveled at all he accomplished during his 35 years.

This picture of Sloan Everett in Montana is one of the family’s favorites, as it illustrates his love of ranching and the great outdoors. (Courtesy photo)

Sloan was the Everetts only son in a family that included his five sisters. He was born in 1981 when the family lived on their ranch in northern Stephens County. He died in March 2017, the victim of a raging wildfire that swept across the Texas Panhandle. That day, Everett was working on the Franklin Ranch northeast of Amarillo with Cody Crockett and his girlfriend, Sydney Wallace, when the fire threatened some of the cattle that Everett was pasturing on the ranch. He called his wife, Liesl Austin Everett, the daughter of one of the ranch’s owners, and told her that she, their children and her mother needed to get off of the ranch. Sloan Everett, Crockett and Wallace were moving the cattle to another field when the fire overtook them.

Throughout his life, Sloan was active in sports, from Little League baseball to Buckaroo sports, including football, basketball, golf and tennis. After graduating from Breckenridge High School in 2000, he went to Baylor University, where he played intramural sports. Even after he finished with school and entered the workforce, he continued to play various sports with his friends. Along the way, he took up cycling.

Jim and Teresa talk with pride about how Sloan went to work for Conoco Phillips right out of college, traveling all around the world for the company. Then, he worked for Hunt Oil. But, eventually, he decided to return home to Breckenridge after he and Liesl were married.

“He became disenchanted with that mass of people headed to downtown Dallas to work, and then being in an office all day long,” Jim said. “And he called me, I don’t know how many times, and said ‘I just wasn’t meant to be in an office.’ He wanted to come home. He wanted to make his life matter. What he always wanted to do was to ranch.”

In Breckenridge, Everett worked on the family ranch, but he was also involved in a variety of activities, including serving on the Stephens Memorial Hospital Board of Directors and the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce board, helping in the student ministry of the First Baptist Church of Breckenridge, and bike riding around the countryside.

After Sloan’s death, Kyle Fambro, a bike-riding friend and a fellow Chamber Board member, approached the Everetts about allowing the Chamber of Commerce to host a bike ride in his honor. The family agreed, and about 40 riders joined the inaugural event in October 2017. A couple of years later, the family turned the bike ride into a fundraiser.

“We decided, ‘Let’s do something to help benefit the community.’ And what better than the volunteer fire departments, since Sloan was killed in a wildfire,” Elizabeth said. In 2019, the family also added a lunch to the day’s events.

The biggest crowd the bike ride has attracted was in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many events and activities had been canceled or postponed. Because the bike ride was outdoors and didn’t require a lot of close interactions, more than 120 people showed up to participate, Teresa said.

This year, the Chamber has turned the bike ride over to the family.

On-site registration will begin at 7:15 a.m., and the event will officially start at 8 a.m. with a welcome. The ride will begin at 8:30 a.m.

All riders must be registered for the ride. The registration fee is $40 for riders age 18 and older and $25 for riders age 13 to 17, and that includes a t-shirt and brunch. Those age 12 and younger  can ride for free but still must be registered.

Those interested in riding in the event can register online. For more information, visit the Pure Country Pedal website or the event’s Facebook page.

For those who would like to support the fundraiser but who do not plan to participate in the bike ride, brunch tickets are available for $10 each and may be purchased on the ride registration page linked to above. The brunch will be held in the pavilion at the Breckenridge City Park, beginning at 10 a.m. Included will be entertainment by Kyle Fambro, who will perform at 9 a.m., and the Urban Pioneers, who will perform at 10:30 a.m.

This year’s event will include five routes for riders to choose from:

  1. Greenhorn – 4.22 miles
  2. Pony Express – 7.79 miles
  3. Buckin’ Bronc — 18.73 miles
  4. Top Hand – 31.62 miles
  5. Sloan’s Route – 59.07 miles

Last year, the event raised $23,241, allowing the family to donate $7,750 each to the Caddo, Hubbard Creek and Wayland volunteer fire departments.

Jim Everett summed up the family’s feelings about the memorial bike ride. “I’ll just say kind of what’s in my heart,” he said. “I think the first part of it is the enjoyment we’ve gotten just from the event itself and seeing people that we don’t see a lot, all of his buddies coming in and friends and just the enjoyment of the event. And we saw the potential that it could grow and get better year after year. And so I think that was that was part of it. But the bigger part … is the great love and respect and admiration that we had for Sloan, who he was, and us trying to be more like him in our love for other people, our faithwalk. And I think that we wanted his influence when he was alive to continue, now that he’s gone. We want everyone to see the extraordinary person he was. And we wanted the event to be something that friendships could remain and be renewed year after year, and his influence for Christ be felt through the event.”

 

Cutline, top photo: Jim Everett is surrounded by family and friends at the beginning of the 2021 Sloan Everett Pure Country Pedal Memorial Bike Ride. Click here to see more photos from last year’s bike ride. This year’s event will be Saturday, Nov. 5. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 


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