Emma Rohrer slogged through the final mud pit before the finish line with a wide grin on her face, racing alongside friends and knowing that there was someone else with her — her dad.
Rohrer is the nine-year-old daughter of Deputy Patrick Rohrer, one of two Wyandotte County Sheriff's deputies shot and killed while transporting inmates on June 15. Emma Rohrer was joined at the Kid’s Obstacle Challenge in Bonner Springs by more than 30 of her dad’s family and friends. All wore superhero shirts to honor Patrick Rohrer.
“I think he’s going to be attending the run right now, you just can’t see him,” Emma Rohrer said.
Patrick Rohrer had competed in obstacle-style races, like this one, every year since 2007 — sometimes he did it with his kids, sometimes with friends.
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“He did every obstacle, warrior dash, spartan race there was. He liked to push himself to the max,” Patrick Rohrer’s wife, Sarah Rohrer, said. “There was one time when Matt, his best friend, and him were doing one and he turned around and noticed someone was flailing in one of the mud pits and he instantly turned around and went back and saved him instead of going on.”
This was a normal reaction for Rohrer. Longtime friend Jaclynn Williams recalled a time when he had talked her into doing a race with him.
“During the course of the Wipeout Run he could have left me in the dust a thousand times and he refused,” Williams said. “That wasn’t who he was.”
Steve Carr, Patrick Rohrer’s brother-in-law, said Rohrer competed in these races for the challenge and the teamwork. He liked that it could be a family affair.
“Pat wasn’t typical, he didn’t want to do your normal thing. He wanted a challenge and the normal run, there was no challenge there,” Carr explained.
Off the race course, Sarah Rohrer said that her husband was her rock. Despite health troubles and the kids, she said he was always there when she needed him.
“He didn’t shake, he didn’t waver, he was always my rock for everything,” Sarah Rohrer said.
As a dad, Sarah Rohrer said he was light-hearted, and always playing with his kids. She said anytime she was mad something hadn’t been done, it turned out it was because he was playing with Connor, 5, and Emma.
Emma Rohrer said her dad’s favorite thing to do was to watch her dance. He had some “sweet moves” on the dance floor as well, she said. He passed on his love of superheroes to the kids, reading them comic books before bed.
“He was a geek of all things,” Sarah Rohrer said.
The group wore superhero shirts Saturday morning primarily because of Patrick Rohrer’s love of comics — he has been to 17 of the last 19 Planet Comicons.
Max Sybrant, a Wyandotte County deputy who worked alongside Rohrer, said it was also because he was a hero.
“There’s a lot of people who would say law enforcement are heroes,” Sybrant said. “And he was probably that type of person, the reason why people would say that.”