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1953 Yakima Ridge Runners Race

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos • TAGS: .

This early Yakima Ridge Runners “Jeep Rodeo” race was captured on film. It’s short, but still fun to watch. It’s called  “Jeep Jockeys Jar and Jounce“.

This is a still from the video.  You can click on the picture to reach the video.


8 Comments on “1953 Yakima Ridge Runners Race

  1. Ron Day

    Thanks for posting this video, Dave. I was there on that day in 1953. Watching them push that car over the cliff is still one of the most vivid memories of my early childhood.

  2. Ed

    Great photos. I am very curious if there are any pictures or videos available of the Ridge Runners pulling their teardrop trailers? My girlfriend (Pat Mullins grand daughter) owns his ’47 teardrop now and just this weekend we met a couple that have another ’47 teardrop that was from another original Ridge Runner member.

  3. David Eilers


    The only videos I know of that show the Ridge Runners jeeping is this:

    And these two from the old Exploration Northwest Show, which I published with Linda McCune’s permission:

    The entire jeeping adventure can be found on this DVD:

    In 2008 I spoke with Linda McCcune who now controls the DVD and old show footage. She said there was another show that she hadn’t digitized yet that had to do with jeeps. So, there still could be some footage of them pulling their trailers.

    The RRs website has been down for several years and there appears to be no Facebook page for them either. I don’t know if it is active or not. If they were active, they’d be part of Region 4 of the PNW4WDA. You could try contacting to see if anyone could help you locate some members who were part of the club. I’m sure someone in Yakima still has the club history.

    – Dave

  4. Matt Forster

    I have much info on early ridgerunners,avery dear friend of mine who was a founding member and actually ridgerunner number one sadly passed a few years ago at 95 yrs of age.I have memorobilia from his shop,and original magazine clips from when he even started the first Toyota dealership after the Japanese approached him to pit their jeep(land cruiser) through it’s paces.Mechanic during the war,came back to the Yakima Valley and would take a semi truck to Seattle as the jeeps piled on top of another being brought back from overseas were unoaded and would pic the ones to take back for projects.Fully built them for trail reliably and street legal them,how the cj was first derived!It’s agast to me that much of this has been lost in history!The trips,and trails these guys made were absolutely amazing!Not just local,many trips made into unexplored territory,and many places they arrived that had no roads(landlocked,only by boat access)and have people scratch their heads on how and where there arrived from!I could keep going on and on,but simply astonishing at the feats these guys did!I could add much more if anyone would choose to contact me!Thank you!

  5. David Eilers

    Hi Matt,

    I run eWillys and am located in Pasco, so probably not far from you? I would be very interested to document the history you have for eWillys and possibly for a magazine story or two. Feel free to email me at or call me at 831-325-9616. Part of my mission with eWillys is to document vintage jeep history, especially the stories that remain untold.

    – David Eilers

  6. Matthew Forster

    I will contact you!Much of my memorabilia are mostly remnants of the old shop,and pictures of my friend in later years with a few builds he was working on.I would spend hours with him and all his cronies sitting in his office speaking of the old days,and hear of all they did– just amazing!A lifelong four byer myself,and with much improved equipment than they had to wheel with,what they did to this day(on those same trails)is astonishing!Thirty years ago when many of the original group were still among us I got to hear right from the horses mouth -if you will,at these feats they accomplished and the comrarde they shared-priceless!!!!My dear friend I speak of is Gordon Buckley,and Wally Klingele was his brother in law,so knowing much of what ended up forming the ridgerunners these names will be VERY familiar!Having the privilege of being around these guys for many years is truly a highlight of my life!So much of the knowledge I posess is from being there just listening and laughing with them.A comical bunch indeed and never a dull moment.I just completed watching one of the early films from the Meeker trail,and got the very first time down story from them themselves –while maybe the first footage of them tackling the trail,I can tell you after watching that it credited Wally being the first down,when actually after drawing straws Gordon lost and was the first down.The story goes,is that upon readying to go down they figured that the best way was to put the large hook of the winch around the rear axle and on the way down as some slack came on the cable Gordon thought “I wonder which way they hooked the cable”,soon to find out the under,or WRONG way!It of course came off and the ride was on!Sitting there with them,Gordon says to Wally”tell ya what,there was no time to think about your wife’s sister!” Kinda gives you an idea of some of these sessions!Anyway,can go on for hours,but thought I would add this as it brought back some great memories!

  7. Matthew Forster

    On a quick other note(sorry,this has brought back many a memory!)Upon being the main builder and mechanic for this amazing group,Gordon Buckley around this same timeframe also owned the world record in speedboat racing.Building boats during nightime during the war in the Philippines(was forbidden by the brass),out of airplane fueltanks and powered by gas powered generator engines,he made a few they could hide during the day,and bring out at night to briefly race before they got caught – and honed early skills and love of this sport as well!He built his first real raceboat in the 50’s and competed until finally achieving world record speed,and of all things powering it with a Crosley engine- if any can remember the small Crosley car,and it’s tiny engine??!!Being laughed at with his choice of power-it was ON!He honed in on it’s ponies by custom designing and building the crank,head,exhaust,and balancing it-laughing ceased shortly thereafter!!

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