The Mayor’s Walking Challenge in October Will Give Rich Sykes a Chance to Monitor Progress on Main Street

Mountain Home Mayor Rich Sykes enjoys walking with children at school during the Mayor’s Walking Challenge.


Mountain Home Mayor Rich Sykes is looking forward to the Mayor’s Walking Challenge because he will be getting his steps while admiring progress the city is making on its downtown core.

“This year is going to be very special for me,” Sykes says. “We’re getting ready to drop $3.5 million into downtown, so I’ll be walking on Main Street to check out the ripping up of the sidewalks and tearing out the sewer drains. I’ll be down there a lot this year and am truly excited.”

The city is putting in a hub plaza downtown, which is expected to revitalize the area and encourage citizens and tourists to explore the area by foot.

As part of the Mayor’s Walking Challenge, which is a program offered by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health through its High Five initiative, Mayor Sykes and other Idaho mayors will wear a Fitbit during October and try to average 10,000 steps a day. If mayors succeed, they’ll earn $1,000 for a school, project or program that promotes physical activity and access to healthy foods for children.

Sykes will use the funds he’s won and expects to win this year on “I Achieved,” a program he founded that rewards students in all grades for doing the right thing and participating in activities that are good for you. Some of the requirements are:

  • Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise/activity at least three times a week
  • Limiting recreational screen time
  • Making healthy and nutritious decisions
  • Reading at least 30 minutes a day
  • Volunteering at a community event

“This program aims to engrain the importance of dedication and commitment to education, responsibility and respect,” Sykes said.

Sykes is normally active, working out each morning before the start of the workday and playing basketball two or three times a week.

“Once you get in a routine, it’s easier to stay on it,” he says.

Sykes would like to see the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health reach its goal of having 100 Idaho mayors to participate. Here is his message to mayors who haven’t registered.

“There’s no reason why you shouldn’t,” Sykes says. ”Don’t you care about your community? That money will go back in their community for something that’s truly special.”


Mayor Rich Sykes Profile

City: Mountain Home

Profession other than mayor: Insurance agent

Favorite places to walk: The two-mile walking path in Mountain Home. “We call it the brown belt, even though it’s not truly brown. There’s grass on both sides of it.”

Where did 2018 Mayor’s Walking Challenge funds go? The funds will be used to support the “I Achieved” program that is launching this year.

Did you know? Mayor Sykes participates in a wide variety of sports, including Scottish Highlands Games, basketball, volleyball, and watersports.