The Run ‘neath the Big Horns

Wyoming’s Oldest & Finest 10k/5k Run

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The Klondike Rush is the brain child of three “young” men who got together to run a couple of days a week in the late 1970’s.

Those young men were Reverend Dr. Bob Miller, Pastor of the local Union Congregational Church, Paul G. Jarvis, a new attorney in town working for the Kirven Law Firm and Dave Harness, the local Undertaker. One of their runs took them out Klondike Drive to a point in the country where they could slip over a ridge to the west and come out on Upper Clear Creek Road. They reckoned it was about 6 miles. So they thought why not have a race the made that circle and sure enough they found an old cattle trail and two track road that connected over the ridge. They marked it out and the rest is history. It was Paul Jarvis who came up with the original name.

The first race had 47 runners and was called the Klondike Rush 10,000 meters. The Sports Lure of Buffalo completely sponsored the entire first race under the direction of Dave Harness who was to be the race director for the next 20 years.

This being the 38th running of the race makes it the oldest existing 10K run in Wyoming and surrounding states. There have been many quality runners that have ventured to Buffalo to run the race. Ron Smith, an excellent runner from Sheridan, won the first Klondike with a time of 32:57. Deane Bjerke, a local banker and former member of the Army Track Team, won the race several times with times that were in the 32 minute range. The Klondike record was set by a runner named Ken Hunter, from Eugene Oregon, who was running for Nike Shoes. His record-setting time was 30 minutes and 30 seconds. The women’s record was set by Benda Graham with a time of 37:30.

During the first years of the race hats were given to all racers who finished in a time that was under 40 minutes. They were call the Sub 40 Club and there were usually about 20 runners who accomplished that. In the early 80’s two members of the Italian Olympic team ran the race but were both beaten by Ken Hunter.

The Klondike has added a 5K run as well as kids races and continues to be a popular race that is run every year in conjunction with the Johnson County Fair and Rodeo Parade.