Grand County Sheriff’s Office honors fallen deputy with ‘Race for Riggs’
The Scottish Poet and Minister Thomas Campbell once wrote, “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
That sentiment, meant to salve the pain of loss the living feel, reminds us our closest connections to our perished loved ones are our own memories.
For members of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the fond memory Deputy Alycia Riggs, who died in an off-duty traffic accident in early February, lives on in their hearts and minds. The tragic loss of Riggs, only 30 at the time of her death, stunned the county she served and sent shockwaves through local law-enforcement and first responder communities
Riggs, who started with the Sheriff’s Office in September 2014, had previously worked for the Sterling Police Department and started her career in law enforcement with the Adams State University Police Department in Alamosa.
This summer Sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Reed is honoring her memory by competing in the Trestle Gravity Series bike races at Trestle Bike Park in Winter Park. During the races Sgt. Reed is officially representing the Sheriff’s Office and is sporting a K-9 unit jersey with Sheriff’s Office patches. Reed is covering all his own entrance fees for the series and is not on the clock while racing. The GCSD is referring to Sgt. Reed’s participation in the race series as “The Race for Riggs”.
Originally conceived by Riggs’ sister Amelia, The Race for Riggs is a way for the Sheriff’ Office to honor Deputy Riggs’ memory while trying to raise funds to support her daughter Azaylee.
“The Race for Riggs is a continuing effort to show support for both Amelia and Azaylee,” said Sgt. Reed. “To let them know that the community has not forgotten what Alycia meant to us.”
When Riggs passed away in February she left behind her 3-year-old daughter Azaylee. Shortly after the accident the GCSD established a fund for the young girl called the “Azaylee Parcells Memorial Fund” at Grand Mountain Bank. As part of the Race for Riggs the Sheriff’s Office has received donation pledges from various individuals in the county toward the Azaylee Parcells Memorial Fund. Similarly, all prize money won by Sgt. Reed in the race series will go to the Memorial Fund.
The Race for Riggs started on July 5 with Sgt. Reed competing in the first race in the Trestle Gravity Series called the Downhill. During last weekend’s Colorado Freeride Festival three more races in the series were held: the Air Downhill, the Super D, and the Downhill. The last race in the series, the Two Run Downhill, will be held on Aug. 9.
Reed’s skill on a bike was on display over the weekend as he took home a first place finish in the Air Downhill Race and a fourth place finish, three-tenths of a second away from third, in the Super D race.
Originally from Arvada, Sgt. Reed has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since 2012. He has been an avid mountain biker and gravity biker for nearly three decades.
“When mountain biking started to develop in the early ’90s I immediately took to gravity-fed biking,” he said.
Reed explained the Race for Riggs drove him to the competition side of things this year.
“I’m going to ride anyways,” he said. “But this is a good reason to get into the races. I might as well do something to raise some money.”
Reed also described the races and events as great opportunities to engage with the public and showcase community policing for the Sheriff’s Office. For the race series this year Reed has driven his deputy patrol vehicle to Trestle Bike Park. He said the patrol truck with a mountain bike on the back has garnered a lot of attention at the races and sparked several positive conversations with the public.
“In this day and age, when law enforcement seems to be under the microscope more than ever, it is important to remember we are people too,” Reed said.
The last Race for Riggs will be held on Sunday Aug. 9. Sgt. Reed will be on the mountain once again, riding to honor his fallen comrade and to support young Azaylee.
Those interested in pledging to the Race for Riggs can contact Sgt. Reed at the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. If you would like to donate to the Azaylee Parcells Memorial Fund, contact Grand Mountain Bank.
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