The Story Behind Relentless, And How It Impacts Children Battling Life-Threatening Illnesses

By Ryan Heckman
Jason Gilmour-Gilmour Creative

Saturday, March 23 will be a day to go down in history as featuring one of the biggest sporting events of all time.

I’m not talking about the Super Bowl, the World Series, or even March Madness. It will not be host to hundreds of thousands of viewers on national television, nor will it be held in a gigantic stadium with cheerleaders and a halftime show. There will be no championship banners handed out, no golden rings given to the winner, and none of these faces will show up on ESPN’s Sportscenter that night.

What it will do, however, is give a group of children and their families a chance to escape the everyday life of hospital visits, chemotherapy treatments, needles and IV’s galore, and the hectic life of a child with a life-threatening illness.

Relentless 2013 is a powerlifting meet that started back in 2011 when a group of people came together in efforts to make life easier for their pastor. He had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in three years, this time in his liver. Their pastor had decided to tattoo the word “Relentless” on his forearm as a reference to Daniel 3:18 and how he would not bow to this disease.

Scott Nutter and his wife Rachel Nutter, Minnesota representatives for the APF/AAPF and also part owners of Southside Athletic in Burnsville, MN, came together with fellow friend and part-owner Mike Hamilton (among a few others) to create what is now one of the most anticipated events of the year in the world of powerlifting.

As an attempt to raise funds to help their pastor pay for all of his stacking medical bills, the Nutters began reaching out to gym owners, professional lifters, equipment and supplement companies, and anyone in the industry who would listen. The Nutters are highly respected in the world of powerlifting, which was great for what they were trying to accomplish.

March 19, 2011 finally came and Relentless was born. Some of the strongest men and women in the world came to the small city of Rosemount, Minnesota to compete in a sanctioned meet, but also as a benefit for Scott and Rachel’s pastor. Every entry fee, every admission ticket, every t-shirt sold, every hot dog sold, every item raffled in the silent auction and every other dollar raised went to this pastor.

Not one single dime was taken in as profit. In the end, they were able to raise over $16,000 to give to this man and help make his and his family’s life easier.

This Saturday marks the third anniversary of Relentless. As they did last year, Relentless will be sponsoring HopeKids, an organization that helps children — and their families — who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses be able to enjoy their life and instill hope within them that they will make it through this difficult time.

Each professional lifter is sponsoring a child individually, and their goal in the end is to top $100,000 raised for these kids and their families. So far, $80,000 has been donated. I have a feeling after the meet is over and all of the entry fees, admissions, and food and apparel sales are tallied, that they will reach their goal.

This is one of the most incredible sights you will ever see. In between the record-setting lifting, the most powerful individuals in the world will be spending time with young children who view them as superheroes. Some of the most well-known lifters in the sport take time to participate in a meet that makes them no money, and many of them have to travel great distances to get there.

Why do they do this? One word: hope.

With hope, anything is possible. With hope, these children can have faith in their tomorrows. And, boy am I thankful for the Nutters and Mr. Hamilton for starting this phenomenon two years ago. If it had not been for them, my father – Scott and Rachel’s pastor – may not had made it through his battle with liver cancer as well as he did.

If you would like to watch this Saturday, it begins at 9:00 am central time. There will be a link to watch on

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