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Sheriff’s office wins coveted Baker mug

For The Madera Tribune

About 40 members of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office participated as either volunteers or runners for the annual Baker-to-Vegas run on April 9-10. Members gather around Sheriff Tyson Pogue (#151) after he completed the 120-mile relay race to Las Vegas’ Rio Hotel and Casino.


By finishing in the top half of its division, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office’s Baker-to-Vegas Challenge Cup team earned a coveted mug and plaque.

In order to receive the mug, teams must finish in the top half of their category. Madera’s team finished seventh out of 20 in its category and 90th overall.

“Overall, we did great,” Lieutenant Zack Zamudio said. “Going into the race, we were ranked 151 and that was pre-COVID years where there was about 300 teams.”

The Baker-To-Vegas run is a law enforcement relay race that starts in Baker, California, and ends up in Las Vegas 120 miles later.

“You have 20 different runners and run various distances from four miles to 10 miles,” said Zamudio, who ran the first leg. “We ran for 17 hours, 57 minutes.”

The MCSO team tries to work out all-year round. In fact, there is so much competition for the team that they held time trials to pick the best team. Even Sheriff Tyson Pogue had to compete in the time trials. He ran fast enough to make the team and run the final leg.

“For our team, pretty much everyone is training year-round,” Zamudio said. “As it gets closer to Baker, we have team meetings. They actually have to make the team where we take the 20 fastest runners. Tyson ran the 20th leg. That’s the main leg to bring it home. He finished off the race for us. The last leg is called the glory leg and reserved for sheriffs or chiefs. We didn’t know the sheriff was going to make the team, though. We like to be fairly competitive.”

In addition to the 20 runners, Zamudio said the support team had another 20 volunteers.

“Not only the runners, it’s a team event,” he said. “We need support staff. We need people to drive the vans. It takes everybody. We use everybody to help out.”

Nonetheless, Zamudio said the team’s main goal was to get a mug.

‘Some people never get a mug,” he said. “This is our eighth year of participating. We ran with Fresno County teams before. We beat Fresno County, who had a combined team with the police and sheriff’s office. We beat the team we used to run with, Clovis PD. We did pretty darn well. The heat had a lot to do with it, too. I ran the first leg and it was 100 degrees when I started. They actually had to stop the race for 30 minutes because they ran out of ambulances.”

There was about 40 people involved in the Baker run. Those that didn’t run drove vans or did other support activities.

“We loaded the first four runners in our van and drove out to Baker,” Zamudio said. “When I finished, the No. 2 runners ran and the van picked her up. When we finished the four, that van went to Vegas. Every team has to give a volunteer and we had one working from when it opened to when it shut down. It’s an awesome event. You’re in the middle of the desert, and they have a little city set up.”



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