Sharon Keane, left, and Brody Young at last year's Fallen Peace Officer Trail Ride's opening program. [Photo courtesy of the Utah Peace Officers Association]

Moab police officer Lloyd Larsen was a 21-year-old husband and father when he was shot and killed one night while working alone at the police station. Larsen had been on the job just six weeks when a man with a grudge against police shot him in the back.

Larsen was among those honored at the first Utah Fallen Peace Officer Trail Ride – founded in 2013, by the Utah Peace Officers Association to recognize law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. The event also raises scholarship money for surviving children and spouses.

The fourth annual Fallen Peace Officer Trail Ride will take place on Saturday, April 9, following a one-hour program at 9 a.m. that includes a 21-gun salute at the Old Spanish Trail Arena, 3641 S. U.S. Highway 191. There will also be 14 stations there with uniformed police officers at booths highlighting each of the 14 fallen officers being honored on the trail.

Additionally, organizers will give the Purple Heart Award to several Utah officers who have been wounded in the past year, said Rick Mayo, a retired Utah Highway Patrol sergeant, and former president of the Utah Peace Officers Association.

After the morning program, those riding motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs, will begin riding at 11 a.m. on the trail, which is located in the Dalton Wells area off U.S. Highway 191 north of Moab. People driving Jeeps and other similar-type vehicles will start their rides at 4 p.m.

At each mile along the 14-mile Fallen Peace Officers Trail, a marker notes a fallen Utah officer, with a name, and – when available – a photo and short biography. Some honorees go back to the 1800s.

“Each year, we change the 14 officers (being recognized),” said Tom Nixon, a patrol sergeant with the Moab City Police, and an avid off-roader. “If you’ve never been on an ATV before, it’s quite exciting.”

This year’s trail ride will honor former Salt Lake County Sheriff Rodney Badger, who was killed in 1853. Another honoree is Kelly Hood Nye Sterner, who died at age 49. Her job was to shut down methamphetamine labs. Her exposure to toxic chemicals was suspected to have contributed to her cancer diagnosis, Mayo said.

Nixon rides the trail several times throughout the day’s event to watch out for participants who might need assistance, although “there’s nothing extremely difficult,” he said.

The trail and ride owe their existence to Utah State Parks Ranger Brody Young of Moab.

In 2010, Young was shot nine times after he approached a parked vehicle at the Poison Spider Trailhead. He was critically injured and fought for his life while the community rallied behind him, Mayo said.

When the organization Ride With Respect wanted to name a trail after Young, he balked, saying he wasn’t dead yet – instead, he suggested calling it the “Fallen Peace Officers Trail.”

Young then proposed an annual trail ride as a way to honor law enforcement officers who have died while on duty, and to raise scholarship money for their survivors.

Last year, six scholarships of $2,010 each were given out to families. That number signifies the year that Young was injured.

Fallen family members are invited to the event, with hotel rooms and a catered dinner provided. A free trail ride for families is scheduled for Friday, April 8.

For more information, go to, or call 435-259-6171.

Fourth annual Fallen Peace Officer Trail Ride honors law enforcement

When: Saturday, April 9; event starts at 9 a.m.

Where: Program at Old Spanish Trail Arena; Ride at Fallen Peace Officer Trail north of Moab

Cost: Fees vary, depending on vehicle types

For more information, go to, or call 435-259-6171.