One Scout dad’s quest to lose 75 pounds and hike with his son at Philmont

No Philmont landmark is more identifiable than the rugged Tooth of Time. (Photo by Phil Romans on Flickr)
Kent, before his Philmont-inspired transformation.
Kent, before his Philmont-inspired transformation. See the after photo after the jump.

Sometimes to gain, you have to lose.

Kent Cantrell, a Scouter from the Houston suburb of Bellaire, knows that all too well.

Kent wanted nothing more than to hike at Philmont with Luke, his Life Scout son.

One problem: At 297 pounds, Kent knew he wouldn’t meet the BSA’s height and weight restrictions for high-adventure bases.

But rather than complain or consider Philmont a fleeting fantasy, Kent took action. From December to June, he walked around his neighborhood, logging an average of 14 miles a day while shedding pounds and gaining endurance for his dream trek with Luke.

And what happened when he stepped on the scales at Philmont in July? 

“He jumped for joy when he cleared the medical check at base camp,” his Troop 222 colleague David Falloure told me. “He was the most fit guy on the trek, and he continues walking each day even though the trip is over.”

Kent (left) reached the summit of his Philmont dream with his son Luke.

Weeks after returning from that unforgettable trek, Kent is now down to 211 pounds — “and counting,” adds David.

How did Kent do it? His story can serve as a model to other Scouters looking to slim down for Philmont, Northern Tier, the Summit or any other once-in-a-lifetime Scouting adventure.

It was “pure dedication,” David says. “He began walking in December. Very quickly he adapted to an extended route that took him 14-plus miles every day.”

Seeing the same man take daily walks around the neighborhood didn’t go unnoticed.

We live in a small community inside Houston,” David says. “Kent became the talk of the town because residents always saw him walking his route. And by March or April, the visible signs of weight loss were clear.”

Kent didn’t change his diet, David says. The weight-loss secret was simply a dedication to daily exercise.

“Rain or shine he walked,” David says. “Hot or cold he walked.”

As Kent racked up the miles (more than 900 of them) David was recovering from a March auto-pedestrian accident that put his spot on the Philmont trek in jeopardy. But David wasn’t going to let Kent have all the fun.

“The injuries almost kept me from going,” he says. “But we mutually encouraged one another and — voila — Kent lost the weight. When he came out of the medical check at base camp, he was lit up like a kid.

“He hugged all of the adult advisors of our crew. And then, 10 days later, he stood on the Tooth of Time with his son, having fulfilled a promise to go to Philmont with him.”

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.