Yakima Ridge Runners Research Archives

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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.

 
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1953 Yakima Ridge Runners Photo

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

This photo was formerly on eBay and shows a couple of drivers from  Yakima Ridge Runners jeep club racing across the desert.

“You are bidding on an Authentic Original Press Photograph used by a Published Newspaper. 1953 Jack Nettleship airborne in jeep Press Photo 72. You are bidding on an original press photo See Scan Below ~ Photo is 8 x 10 in size.”

1953-ridge-runners-photo1

Continue reading

 
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Life Magazine Issue about the Ridge Runners

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: , .

This May 14, 1951, issue of LIfe Magazine contains the article about the Yakima Ridge Runners. You can preview it on Google.

View all the information on eBay

1951-05-14-life-magazine-ridge-running

 

 
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Life Magazine Issue About Yakima Ridge Running

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine, Old Images Jeeping • TAGS: , .

UPDATE: **SOLD** Was on eBay

The May 1951 Issueof Life Magazine that has the Yakima Ridge Runners driving through the Yakima Valley is now on eBay.  The Yakima RidgeRunners had a website for years, but it seems that it has been taken down.  Below is an image from the Life Magazine article.

 

 
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Yakima Ridge Runners Early Jeeping Videos

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images Jeeping, videos • TAGS: .

JPZombie has posted several vintage videos on Youtube. Here are a few showing the club in the Naches Trail area west of Yakima in Washington State.

 
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Yakima Daily Republic reports on First Naches Crossing

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Based on the below news report,  August of 1950 was the very first crossing of the Naches Trail by the Yakima Ridge Runners.  This information resides on the Nachestrail.org website.

Something I didn’t know about this first crossing was that the jeepers had to use winches to drop their jeeps over the cliff on the west side, just as pioneers had done almost 100 years before (well, they used freshly made cowhide ropes instead of winches).

Note that in transcribing this article into PDF form, the transcriber couldn’t identify everything, so there are a few uncomplete hiccups in the text.

Though the article includes no images, only 9 months later many of these same folks and their jeeps would be photographed by Life Magazine playing in the Yakima Valley hills, sagebrush and mud (included below).  You can see all the pics from that here.

Jeeps Follow Trail Carved by Naches Pass Emigrants
08-15-50
By Ted Van Arsdol, Yakima Daily Republic

Ninety-seven years after the first wagon train crossed Naches Pass through the trackless Cascades, 11 Yakima jeep drivers, members of the Ridge Runner club, have completed the same rugged journey.

The jeep caravan returned here yesterday after following the forest-grown trail across the mountains. The jeep riders lowered their vehicles by chains and a winch down the steep face of a cliff on the west side. It was on this same cliff that pioneers of 1853 were forced to dismantle their wagons and lower them by ropes.

W R. (Wally) Klingele, one of the Ridge Runners making the trip said. The group could still see traces of the old wagon trails and the ancient cuts on trees that probably were made by the pioneers. He said there were also grooves on the west side cliff made by the sliding covered wagons.

First Four-Wheel Repeaters

“I believe our trip over the old road was the first one made by four-wheeled vehicles since the pioneer trek,” Klingele said. He had heard of motorcycles going over Naches pass, but doesn’t believe they went down the face of the cliff as the jeeps did.

Members of the Ridge Runners who made the trip were Chet Thompson, Dale Rohn, ___ Golsh, Gordon Buckley, Harlan Beckett, Lyle Christopherson, __ King, Bob Schultz, Pat Mullins and Klingele. Roger Gervais, jeep club initiate, also made the mountain trek.

The group had gone into the [?pass] one week ago from Timothy meadows to Government meadows. They left Saturday from the mouth of American river, went about seven miles by road to Jungle creek camp and then journeyed on by jeep trail to Timothy meadows.

Had to Carve Road
They camped overnight at Timothy meadows and started at [??] am Sunday on the trip through the woods. It took 11 hours for the caravan to cover the 10 miles to the pioneer cliff. The drivers had to cut and clear a road using shovels and axes.
To reach the bottom of the cliff on the other side, the Ridge Runners hooked one jeep to a tree by a chain, and the man in the jeep used a winch to lower other vehicles down the cliff.  [?] used a crank to unwind the winch, while the other Ridge Runners worked with the jeep being lowered to make sure it didn’t go astray.

The 150 foot dropoff was steeply sloped but had a number of ledges. It took 2 1⁄2 hours to lower all the jeeps. The toughest part of the trip came at the end. Yakima’s jeep club spent eight hours covering a mile and a half of the most rugged sort of mountain terrain. The foliage was heavy and many fallen rocks and logs hampered their machines.

After 21 hours on the trail the Road Runners reached Hines forest camp on the west side at 3 yesterday. They covered just 14 miles from the end of the trail at Timothy meadows to the forest camp.

 
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Some Great Old Photos at JpZombie.com

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: .

At JpZombie.com, Casey has uploaded 20 images from the late 40s / early 50s.  Several of the images have also been loaded at the earlycj5.com website and a thread has popped up around them. A video was also uploaded (see below) that shows early color footage of the Yakima Ridge Runners (from Yakima, Washington) playing in what appears to be the Little Naches River and shows them traveling over the Naches Trail (you can also see video excerpts from Exploration Northwest which discusses the trail).

Below is a small version of one of the pics at JpZombie.  In this pic, you can see on the sign ‘Wally Klingele’, who was one of the founding members of the Ridge Runners.  Some of the pics at JpZombie appear to be pics capturing the Life Magazine Folks who put together these classic videos (ridge runner video 1 & ridge runner video 2).

This is also courtesy of JpZombie.com via Youtube:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5eIbxvuKJQ

 
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Video: Yakima Ridge Runners 1950s Video Part 2

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos • TAGS: , , .

This is the second of two videos made by Universal International News. Much of this footage seems very similar to the shots taken by Life Magazine of the Ridge Runners, when they did ran a story about the Jeep Club.

 
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Videos: Ridge Runners Video #1

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos • TAGS: , .

The Yakima Ridge Runners Jeep Club recognizes itself as the world’s first incorporated Jeep Club, incorporating in early 1947. I have run across reports of early clubs formed in Southern California, but whether they actually incorporated or not is unknown to me. This video made by Universal International News was one of two.

 
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Exploration Northwest and the Meeker Trail

• CATEGORIES: Features, videos • TAGS: .

UPDATE:  It turns out that Wally Klingle’s Jeep and the High Hood featured at the beginning are still around.  Wally’s 2nd cousin, who’s name I don’t know yet, commented on the video at youtube.  I’m trying to arrange a visit on my way through Yakima so I can take some pics and learn more.

In his comment on the youtube page, he wrote, “Wally Klingle, the guy they lower down that old cliff they have since shut down, is my 2nd cousin.  He started the ridge runners with a few others.  He still has that jeep.  My grandpa is in the video too and my uncle still has the high hood he was driving. He s..t when I told him about this video.”

————

Linda McCune from the Don McCune Library kindly has given me permission to provide some clips from the Jeeping1 DVD, a collection of 3 episodes of Exploration Northwest related to pacific northwest jeeping. To order this DVD, you can contact Linda McCune at 206 726-2650 and ask for the Jeeping1 DVD.  It costs $24.95.  I encourage you to purchase is as she has the video for a Jeeping2 DVD, but has not created it yet.

The first of the three 30 minute episodes on the Jeeping 1 DVD is The Meeker Trail (Naches Trail) episode (1965). The second episode covers the “Doe Run”, a women only jeeping excursion (1974).  The third episode highlights the Yakima Mud Bowl (1977).

From that 30minute Meeker Trail episode follows a dual narrative, discussing the original Meeker trail pioneers and their travails while following the ‘modern day’ jeep pioneers. I’ve agreed to publish only two clips from this episode.

In the first clip,  Don McCune introduces us to the modern day pioneers as they double check their jeeps and head towards the beginning of the trail.  Check out these jeeps from 1965, no fuss, no chrome here.

Jeepers familiar with the western side of the Naches trail will recognize the steep drop off.  It might not look that steep in the video, but it is steep.  A bypass to that hill was created so jeepers could avoid it.  I’ve hiked it; it’s slippery and steep.  Below this video is a shot approx 15 years later, with the sign seen in the video present at the left.

 
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The Meeker Trail aka the Naches Trail

• CATEGORIES: Features, News, videos • TAGS: .

I've heard rumors that a TV show in the 1960s did an episode on the Naches Trail.  Good News!  I finally found the episode, which was created by Exploration Northwest.  The best news is you can buy a copy of it and some other early jeep videos on DVD from the Don McCune Library.

Jeeping 1 (Click link and scroll down to Jeeping 1) 

This DVD features 3 episodes:

1.  The Meeker Trail: "Join this spine-rattling trip with the Yakima Ridge Runners Jeep Club as they retrace the oldest route across the Cascades: Naches Pass. Filmed in black-and-white in 1965, it is based on Ezra Meeker's book "Pioneer Reminiscences of Puget Sound", which recounts traversing this old Indian trail with the first immigrant wagon train of 148 people in 1853."

2.  The Doe Run:  "The female members of the Seattle Jeep Club leave their families at home and enjoy a weekend 'Doe Run' on the rugged backcountry roads of the Cle Elum and Salmon La Sac area in the Cascade Mountains."  (The WWJC club did something similar about this time – my mom and grandma went)

3.  The Mud Race: " Yakima Ridge Runners Jeep Club race their specially-equipped jeeps through a mud-hole track in central Washington."

The Desert Races DVD  (Click link and scroll down to Desert Races)

This DVD features 3 episodes

1.  Mattawa 100:  "The 1975 Mattawa 100 features 750 dirt bikes racing across 100 miles of sand and sagebrush near the eastern Washington town of Mattawa.  Aerial and slow-motion photography offers an exciting view along with comments by contestants.  The Everett Highriders Jeep Club and the Stump Jumpers Motorcycle Club assisted in the event".  (I think I was at this race.  Our jeep club was helping run a checkpoint.  Guys were coming to the checkpoint bloody from falling. Very memorable).

2. The Sunfair 300: "Sponsored by the Washington Off-Road Racing Association, the Sunfair 300 is a desert race with 4-wheel-drive vehicles and rails (dune buggies) on a 225-mile course near Yakima that ranks as one of the toughest in the nation!  Members of the Yakima Ridge Runners staff the race course check points."  (I believe this was what my original racing jeep — that I purchased for $600 — was built to compete in).

3.  A retrospective of the life of the host, Don McCune.