|2021-08-30||Dave Coppock||The Yellowstone Rimrunners- 40 years and counting|
|Our club name, The Yellowstone Rimrunners, seems pretty straightforward and appropriate for a running club located beneath the iconic Rimrocks above Billings. The name, however, appears to have roots some time before the club formed in the fall of 1981.|
It was New Year’s Eve in 1979 and I was headed through Billings on my way back to U of M in Missoula and had stopped to spend a couple day in Billings visiting one of my college running teammates, Dean (Buddy) Behrmman who had recently graduated and was working with another of our teammates, Drake Dornfield, at his Athlete’s Foot running shoe store. Buddy and I went for a long, 20 mile run on the last day of 1979. We headed up 27th street past the old EMC tennis courts filled with people enjoying an unusually warm December afternoon.
We crested the hill near the airport and headed west along the Rims trail, a route many of us still take today. We picked our way along the dirt and rock path, sometimes skirting uncomfortably close to the Rim’s edge and a steep drop off. I asked Buddy if he wasn’t a little afraid of falling off! He replied that this was nothing compared to the group who occasionally did this run at midnight carrying flashlights! That group included several local ultra-marathoners; John Dorr, Ken Schultz, Gene Schuman and John Williams. They had asked Buddy to join them on one of their midnight trail runs along the Rims. Buddy said that the group called themselves the “Midnight Rimrunners”. As I peered over the edge and could think of a couple other names!
That was the first I had ever heard of the name “Rimrunners”. When I moved from Missoula to Billings in the summer of 1981, I gravitated towards a group of runners I had met at races around the state and by that fall we had coalesced into a more formal running club named the Yellowstone Rimrunners. I doubt the early Midnight Rimrunners had copyrighted their name, but the Rimrunners name has lived on for 40 years!