Avon’s Sutter named top celebrity athlete | VailDaily.com

Avon’s Sutter named top celebrity athlete

Special to the DailyThe Ironman Triathlon was one of 10 endurance events Ryan Sutter completed in 2010, raising money and awareness for First Descents.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – It’s good for Ryan Sutter to be a celebrity, but it’s better to be strong.

Sutter is Competitor Magazine’s Celebrity Athlete of the Year, collecting his award at the Endurance Live Awards Gala at the downtown Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego.

Sutter raised more than $100,000 for young cancer patients 2010 while completing 10 endurance events.

Bob Babbitt, editor of Competitor Magazine, calls Sutter “one of the most versatile endurance athletes in the world.”

Sutter completed 10 endurance events in 2010, inspiring more than 10,000 people to donate at least $10 each for First Descents’ 10-year anniversary.

Sutter and First Descents founder Brad Ludden came up with the idea.

Sutter says he thought he’d do a few events and give the money to Ludden’s organization.

Ludden is one of those guys who believes if something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Sutter told Triathlete magazine. “The First Descents team suggested the 10.10.10 idea because it was their 10th anniversary. I was agreeable at first; I think I didn’t realize what I was committing to.”

The goal was to use Sutter’s celebrity to raise awareness and money, and maybe help people develop a little more strength – both inside and outside.

He’d need both. His quest put him in 10 of the country’s most brutal endurance events.

First Descents sends young adults to weeklong camps around the country, where they’re challenged in different ways. For example, cancer patients and stuffed into a kayak and guided down a river.

“There’s no one to take it easy on them. Mother Nature doesn’t care if you have cancer. You have to find a way to get through it,” Sutter said. “By the end of the camp, it renews their spirit in the battle against cancer. They realize they can overcome daunting challenges.”

Sutter the suitor

Sutter knows about athletics. He’s a former All-Big 12 safety at the University of Colorado, drafted in the fifth round by Baltimore in 1998. He was released by the Ravens and picked up by the Carolina Panthers where he saw his NFL career flash by in one down. On an opening kickoff against the Jets in 1998, Sutter made the tackle but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

But, you just can’t keep a good man down and Sutter left Carolina and landed in Vail, which is up from Carolina in so many ways.

Some of his firefighter buddies double-dog-dared him to enter “The Bachelorette,” featuring the Fair Trista Rehn, a former Laker Girl and minor deity.

When she eliminated all other suitors and cut Ryan from the herd, Ryan fell to his bended knee and on national television asked, “Wilt thou?”

She agreed, but did not wilt. The fair Trista is certainly a flower, but no shrinking violet.

They moved to the valley and are in the process of living happily ever after.

They recently celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary and have two beloved offsprings: Max, 3, and Blakesley, 20 months.

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