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Carson at the Folsom City Zoo

One of our athletes, Carson Padilla, was one of the top fundraisers last year at the Kemah Triathlon, raising over $2500 for a cause near and dear to his heart. Read about his fundraising in an article from last fall.

He was invited to see the product of his efforts this summer, and wrote an article for us. Please enjoy!

As we walked through the gates toward a large red barn, almost like what you might see in a movie. We were greeted by a few people and as soon as possible, I looked around the back of the barn and saw this incredible stream of water running down this large steel rectangle. I grabbed my dad’s arm and pulled him over to look. I then proceeded to run over to the table with bags of sand and poured one into my sluicing pan. As the water slid over the pan, the grit was removed and revealed shining crystals, emerald, and citrines. As I bagged up the rocks, my dad waved me over to a sign with mine and Chuck Harrison’s names on it.

Carson getting to cut the ribbon

Then, we stepped into the barn and met some ferrets, watched some bees, and spoke to important people like Robert Goss (Director of Parks and Recreation), and Guy Easterling (The Recreation Coordinator). As the ceremony began, Robert Goss began to announce donors and people who helped, eventually reading my name and saying how I had raised about 2,700 dollars toward the sluice box by competing in the Kemah Triathlon with the charity program Reason2Race. As important people lined up to cut the ribbon, I had a surprise as I was called up by Robert Goss to help cut the ribbon! I was shocked as I took hold of half of the giant scissors, with Steve Miklos (The Folsom Mayor) holding on to the other end. As we snapped the scissors shut, the ribbon fell to the ground, the door was opened and people rushed through to see what was inside. For the rest of the time I milled around, helped with the sluice box, and sat down to look over the nearby ravine. And that was the end of the event.

When I think about it, my experience at the Folsom Zoo Barnyard was…

…a very excitable trip just in my theories of what might happen on the trip, but in reality it was even greater! I had gone to a sluice box before, merely a long rectangle of water that was drained every few minutes, but this sluice box greatly exceeded all my expectations! The sluice box was not the only item available for visitors, there were animals, working bees, a cow milking station, a ‘tug of war’ machine, and a very good ice cream stand. But the greatest moment for me during the trip was to pull crystals out of the murky depths of the sluice box, look to my left and see little kids who would likely take their children to this sluice box enjoying the box. Then, looking to my right and seeing the commemorative sign on the sluice box stating that this sluice was Chuck Harrison’s dream and that a small 13 letters held my name as one of the contributors to help make that happen. Needless to say, the rest of my trip was incredible, and I enjoyed spending time with my family. All in all, this is a statement that a dream is a foundation upon which you set to building your life.

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