Jessica Culver-Tapp and Bill Daley were named the 2021 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant recipients, enabling the two to pursue their boldest XTERRA travel dreams in 2021.
Made possible by 2015 XTERRA Warrior award honoree Dave DeSantis, the grant provides one man and one woman, each year for six years (2018-2023), with $2,500 to support travel expenses to an XTERRA dream destination of their choice.
“When I got the call from Kathy I was in total shock and disbelief, so thankful and honored,” said Culver-Tapp, an ICU nurse currently working in Tucson, Arizona under a 13-week travel nurse contract. “I have been at the center of the COVID madness since it started and I realize we all struggle with something, but it's what we do with that struggle and how we make ourselves and others better that matters.”
In caring for the community she serves under the most difficult of circumstances, Culver-Tapp has been making a big difference in the lives of many and her efforts matter greatly.
“I love my job and caring for the sickest patients in their worst time,” said Culver-Tapp, who has been racing XTERRA since 2012 when she got her first mountain bike. “To balance it all, exercise and fresh air have been my biggest healers to relax, destress, and process all that life throws at us. With this grant, I’ll be able to travel to a race and soak in the entire experience, and that would not have been possible without it.”
Jessica’s dream trip is XTERRA Taiwan on March 27, “to immerse myself in a culture so different from anywhere I’ve ever been and share Dave’s Live More spirit with the community. I’ll be a humanitarian, athlete, and tourist all at the same time,” she said.
For men’s recipient Bill Daley, a retired high school mountain bike coach from Massachusetts, the grant provides all the motivation he needs to combine his longtime passion for racing and adventure with his newfound love for triathlon and XTERRA.
“In fourth grade I removed the banana seat and monkey bars from my Columbia Tripper and along with some borrowed parts and a can of black spray paint transformed it into a crude but functional BMX bike. Over the next three summers we rode for hours on a BMX track we had built in a nearby Christmas tree farm, all while imagining we were riding in the BMX World Championships. Fast forward 40 years later, and with this grant, here I am with a chance to race in the dirt at XTERRA Worlds in Maui for real.”
Daley said his biggest goals for 2021 are to continue his progression as an endurance athlete, father, and husband, and to carry the torch for DeSantis.
“I could not be more excited to have been awarded the Dave DeSantis Legacy Grant Award,” said Daley. “I never had the pleasure of meeting Dave, but I realize he remains a true ambassador of XTERRA racing and an inspiration to the entire community. I hope to carry on and share his love of racing, joyful camaraderie, and positive spirit with the world.”
In 2013, DeSantis was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma and was given a year to live. He fought the cancer with everything he had and continued to race XTERRA through his treatment. The XTERRA community was a source of support and strength for Dave in his long and valiant battle with melanoma that ended June 5, 2017.
“Dave traveled and raced XTERRA all around the world. He rode with passion in his heart and love in his soul,” said Kathy Doyle, Dave’s wife and chair of the DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant committee. “The sport brought immeasurable joy into his life, and his happiness was obvious when you heard him cheerfully whistling while pedaling away for another ride, another race, another challenge.”
In his memory, XTERRA renamed the recurring XTERRA Warrior Award the Dave DeSantis XTERRA Warrior award and to celebrate his legacy further, Kathy established the grant to provide other athletes the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
“This year’s applicants were truly amazing and the decision to pick just one man and woman was incredible difficult, but we believe Jessica and Bill will be fine stewards of the award,” said Doyle. “We are grateful to all the applicants for sharing their incredible stories of perseverance and positivity.”
Applications for the 2022 Dave DeSantis XTERRA Legacy Grant are being accepted now through September 29, 2021 at xterraplanet.com/DeSantisLegacyGrant.