In the Spirit
Triathlon honoring Dick Tomlin an act of togetherness
KINGMAN - Someone somewhere really likes the annual Dick Tomlin's Spirit of Triathlon.
"God always gives us a great day," Bonnie Tomlin said.
Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the event, held in part to honor Dick Tomlin. Tomlin died in 2005 when a car hit him while he rode his bicycle on Route 66 near the airport.
The idea of the local triathlon is much more than athletic endeavors. Rather, it is held to capture the essence of the human spirit in a grand act of togetherness. As usual, the triathlon did not disappoint.
A last-minute adjustment had to be made when race organizer Jonathon Grinder blew the transmission in his truck in Missouri on his way to Kingman.
"By Thursday we knew we had to go on without him," Bonnie Tomlin said. "It was so cool that everybody got things together and even recruited others."
By Saturday's conclusion, every aspect of the race was met successfully, all in the spirit of the triathlon.
"People put their egos aside and made it work," Bonnie said. "I know Dick is looking down at me and saying, 'woman, how did you get all these people to do all that?'"
Ken Lewis of Scottsdale has been to all five of the triathlons. That's impressive because Lewis is an international racer.
"It's my favorite race," he said. "It has that hometown, homespun atmosphere."
Lewis recently raced at the world triathlon held in Australia. He was a close friend of Dick's, and this race has that extra place in his heart for that and another reason.
"Dick passed on my birthday," he said. "So every time I get another year older, he's in my thoughts and prayers."
This year's event added The Tomlin Dash, a one-mile run held Friday along the streets of downtown. Triathlon organizers offered $200 to the physical education departments of nine elementary schools if 5 percent of their enrollment participated. Approximately 150 kids took part in their effort to raise funds for their schools.
Bonnie was impressed with the work of Ron Bowman from Manzanita Elementary. Bowman had all of his kids' waivers in ahead of the race. He showed a part of the spirit that surrounds this event with some good-natured ribbing toward Bonnie.
"I knew I had to do it right," he said, "or the big cheese would drop the hammer down."
This year's triathlon ended Saturday with an awards ceremony at the Old Elks building, and Bonnie knows the sixth race will be another successful one.
"Kingman just embraces this event," she said. "People who have volunteered in the past call me and say 'I want my spot.'"