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Sunflower Strength and Conditioning: Partners in business and life.

Sunflower Strength and Conditioning: Partners in business and life.

Rachel Lock | Photographer

Article Provided by Envista

“We went on three dates in high school,” Roger said.  “But I guess they weren’t good enough.”

But fate sometimes has other plans.

Roger, a football player in high school and a small college All-American at Occidental College in Los Angeles, married a woman from Guatemala and soon found himself living in exotic locations around the world.  From Seoul, Korea, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, back to the U.S. and once again to the Middle East, Roger was busy opening schools, teaching English and raising a family.

Becky graduated from Kansas State and began her teaching career at Topeka West High School—where you can still find her, 28 years later.  During her time at Topeka West, she coached a variety of sports, served as principal and earned a reputation as one of the best math teachers in Topeka.

Life was good for both of them.  Then, when he was only 38, Roger’s wife passed away. Fate stepped in, and those childhood friends reconnected and were married a year later.  Becky moved to Abu Dhabi for two years and then the couple returned to the states.

Becky picked up where she left off at Topeka West teaching math and Roger became a Secondary ESL Coach for USD 501.  So basically, they both found themselves coaching all day long.  The couple then decided to put those coaching skills to use doing something they both loved—crossfit.

Roger and Becky opened Crossfit Topeka in 2009 (at the time if was only the third CrossFit gym in the state).  Starting with one client in a shed, they grew the business and sold it to one of their trainers in 2014.  They soon found, however, that for their own health and happiness, they needed to be part of a gym community.  So Roger and Becky, along with four other couples from their CrossFit days, opened Sunflower Strength and Conditioning, located in the historic district downtown, in 2015.

“We do this for our own selfish reasons,” Becky said.  “It is like our health insurance because we want to stay active as long as possible.”

The gym’s nine coaches include three army national guardsmen, one middle school teacher, an accountant, a manager at a consignment store and three teachers.  Roger and Becky admit that sometimes life can seem like a juggling act.

Eight people running a business together can be tricky,” Roger said. “But we all have one thing in common:  We all love the gym and the community.”

While they are in growth mode right now, Roger and Becky agree that they don’t want the membership to become too big because they want the gym to maintain its family atmosphere.  However, if they do need to expand into a larger space, Roger and Becky know where they will go for financing.

“We have always had a fantastic relationship with Envista,” Roger said.  “We work with them on several of our rental properties as well, and we think it is important for local businesses to support each other.”

While changes are inevitable, both Roger and Becky know one thing for sure.

“We will never retire from the gym.”


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