Note: At a recent NOJH event, “Try It Knight”, we were introduced to Mr. Wyatt Buttars, who was there raising awareness about his cause, and the amazing bike ride he was about to begin in support of that cause. We were intrigued, and invited Mr. Buttars back to our school for an interview. This is what we learned.
Wyatt Buttars is a kind and thoughtful young man. The 25-year-old Ogden Valley native is going to ride his bike from California to Florida in 45 days to raise money to help a cause called Operation Underground Railroad. This organization is based on the belief that children should not be sold or enslaved for sex trafficking. We interviewed Wyatt and asked him a few important questions.
Q: What is your background?
A: I went to Weber High School and graduated in 2010. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and after I came home for my mission, I really wanted to be my own person so I started a landscaping business, which I’ve been running for the last few years. I am not really a biker. I just thought it would be a really good way to make a difference.
Q: What is Operation Underground Railroad?
A: It is a non-profit organization, run by a man by the name Tim Ballard. The purpose is to save children of all ages from sex trafficking and slavery. The money that Wyatt raises will go to this organization.
Q: What is “The Ride to End Child Slavery”?
A: This ride is something I came up with myself, actually. I will fly down to San Diego, California and then bike all the way from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida to raise money for Operation Underground Railroad. The organization works to save kids from slavery, specifically sex slavery.
Q: How did you decide to do this?
A: Last year I watched a movie called The Abolitionists. This movie was about an amazing group of people who save kids from slavery. When I watched it with my dad and brother, I had no idea this kind of slavery still existed. I was horrified that slavery still even existed, much less this specific type of slavery. I decided I wanted to help, so I came up with this idea. I am dedicating this bike ride to the Underground Railroad cause. It’s really sad, but child slavery still exists, even in Utah. Kids are sold for sex all over the world.
Q: How many miles is the ride? What route will you take?
A: I am biking about 3055 miles. I am planning to go 60 to 75 miles each day. I’ll be biking through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and ending up in Florida.
Q: How long will this take?
A: I am planning for it to take about 45 days, without counting weather and food stops. I plan to leave November 3rd and arrive around December 17th.
Q: What about weather? And food?
A: The average temperature is usually about 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The southern states are a little warmer. But you never know, there can be a hurricane. And there are big gusts of wind in the deserts. I will have to worry about rain and heat. For food I am planning on using dehydrated meals that you can use for camping. These meals are smaller and lighter and take less space. I am carrying about week’s worth of food at a time. When those materials run out, I will stop at a local grocery store, restock and get some more supplies.
Q: Who will help?
A: This is a solo ride. I plan to ride alone even though everyone wanted me to have a backup vehicle. But I feel like I need to do this myself.
Q: How will you raise money?
A: I did a booth at Try it Knight during the Hope Week, here at North Ogden Junior High. I also set booths up in front of Smiths and basically anywhere I can get to. Social Media is a big help, and when I go to church on Sundays, I ask if anyone would like to donate. I use booths to sell my merchandise and I ask my family if they would like to donate money.
Q: How can people help?
A: People can also follow me and my ride on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/OURbiketour/?pnref=story.
Also, I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: Are you worried?
A: I’m not really worried. I feel prepared. I’ll rest on Sundays and stop by the nearest LDS church. I’ll write the churches, tell them I am coming, and ask them if it is appropriate if I ask for donations on a Sunday. It’s going to be a long couple of months, and I’m really going to miss my girlfriend, but if I can help, and make a difference for these children, it will all be worth it.