Important Words from Race Director David Summerfield

Following is an article by David Summerfield the race director of the Bridger Ridge Run. These are his words laying down the rules regarding registration for the 2011 Bridger Ridge Run. This article will appear as his “The Mature Runner” article in the February issue of the Big Sky Wind Drinkers Newsletter. – Editor

Do All Mature Runners Have to Run The Ridge Run???

Well, no, they don’t. And here’s why. This Wind Drinker article will spell out the process and the thinking that went into what will happen next May and June. And please note – this process has been a LOooooog time in the making. I’m a firm believer in letting “nature take its course”, and in this instance, it took about 10 years to take its course. I grew up convinced that buying a lottery ticket was the same as gambling, and gambling (as you “Music Man” fans must understand) is awfully close to shooting pool, and that rhymes with “mule” and that’s what I am sometimes!

10 years ago I agreed with Celia that 250 should be the maximum number of runners to ever start this race. So, the entries had to stop at 250. But for several years, so many people wouldn’t show up at the starting line, we would have less than 200 finish the race. So, the hedging began. I should have felt just as uncomfortable as the stupid airlines that overbook. That looks like gambling to me! (…now) Anyway, signing up 350 people in 4 minutes last May tipped me over to the dark side. We will undertake our first lottery system to choose who runs this dern race. But in typical BSWD fashion, it will be done with compassion, forbearance, agony in the choices, and many loopholes and exceptions. This article is an attempt to quell all rumors, and probably create some more! OK.

Here’s the timeline:

May 15th – May 29th: Open registration for as many people who want their names in the hopper. You’ll go to, pay your $5.00 plus $1.55 handling fee, and sit and wait. To ease some of the pain Celia has to go through, this is the only time and place to sign up for ALL people who want to run. This includes first timers, 10 timers, 22 timers (Andy Pilskalns), former winners, auctioned-off entries, last years’ “FiveFinger Finishers”, and anyone on any kind of a “secret” list (I guess only I know who they are). There. So, by May 29th, the field is set. No one else has any chance to get in the race, period.

May 30th – June 7th: The Ridge Run Committee (RRC) (they know who they are – if you don’t know if you’re on it, you’re not) will convene and conduct the “selection process”. This means going through ALL $6.55 entries, sorting them into appropriate categories, and conducting the lottery on those who need to be lotted. After that, an additional 100 names will be lotted out (and kept in the order of being selected – these are the “alternates” we will draw from, as any of the original 300 decide not to actually register in the next phase).

June 8th – June 15th: One week for THE “300” to go online, and actually register for the race. Again,, $50.00 plus $3.76 handling fee. No hurry. No need for a fancy computer, or fast dial-up speed, or tech-savvy. You’ll get a special password to register. If you’re in the “300” and don’t register by 11:59 pm June 15th, you’re out, and the RRC will notify the 1st person on the “100” list that he/she is now “in”.

June 16th – June 29th: And then we wait while any new people of the “100” register, and this time, it can’t be online – it has to be done the slow, old fashioned way.

June 30th: Ta daaaaa! The official “300” will be published on the BRR website. NO MORE ENTRIES at this point.

Finer Points: Here’s the rub – when you go online during those 2 weeks in May, you will have the opportunity to write a small paragraph telling the RRC why you really need to get into the race. It may simply be – “I’ve tried to get in the last 4 years, and this really isn’t fair anymore, is it?” Or, “My name is Scott Creel.” Or, “My grandfather is Ed Anacker and it would be a shame if the Chronicle got hold of my story and you wouldn’t let me in the race!” The RRC will save a small number of slots for a few good stories, as well as all the 10-timers and winners, of course.

No Refunds: And it has to be always pointed out that there are NO refunds for ANY reason. Your entry fee, if not used, will be donated to a good local non-profit, and they thank you for it! Your race slot cannot be transferred to someone else ( …but my son is flying in from Texas to watch me run, but I sprained my knee, so can’t he take my place?) (no.) Ohhhhh, I can’t wait for May 15th!! – David Summerfield

About Bridger Ridge Run

The Bridger Ridge Run blog is an information portal for all those seeking to learn more about the Bridger Ridge Run event held every second Saturday of August in Bozeman Montana. This blog contains notifications about important registration dates and deadlines, history of the event, training advice and other stories and entertaining tidbits of information about the Bridger Ridge Run.
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5 Responses to Important Words from Race Director David Summerfield

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think I’ll just go run the course some fine summer day when there aren’t a bunch of honyockers milling around.

  2. Bert H says:

    It would be great to know what other factors are being considered for entrance through the lottery. It reads that the committe will “save a small number of slots for a few good stories, as well as all the 10-timers and winners, of course.” What is the criteria being looked at for those that don’t have great stories to print, but that have run the race and want to continue to be a part of it.

    • Don’t under sell yourself. Everyone has a story. Even if it is that you simply love the event and just want to do it again. Explain your commitment by stating how many times you have done it and how many times you plan to do it in the future.

      I’ll repost some comments I made to another person who asked a similar questions as yours. They are still valid suggestions.


      I do know, that the selection committee’s bias is towards those that are active members of the local running club. The selection committee also plans to give preference to those that had trouble getting in last year or the year before. During the sign up for the lottery, you will have the chance to submit a brief story as to why you should be selected. Compelling stories will certainly help.

      My recommendations to help you get preference in the lottery are:

      Join the local running club,, (it is only $10.0)
      Participate in the running club events and get to know the club officers
      Commit to helping put on the Ridge Run such as hauling water ahead of the event or being one of the trail maintenance volunteers

      When you enter the lottery, write an honest and compelling story pleading your case as to why you should get in. Make sure to give yourself credit for any volunteer work you plan to do or have done in the past. Also mention any failed attempts to register in the past and any uniqueness that you bring to the event.

      Best of Success!

  3. Brady Grohne says:

    It seems to me that if you’re going to put a lottery in place you’re also going to need some sort of “preference point” system, not unlike your game tag. If you’ve applied and not been picked then perhaps you get a point. Maybe you get another if you’ve finished the race. Then, with some perseverance, your odds increase. This way somebody will be less likely to be shut out year after year and those who are most avid may earn the likelihood to run it again.

    • Goods points Brady. Thanks for the suggestions. Your “preference point” system is a great way to formalize the preferences laid out by the selection committee. It is a precise way to quantify and keep track of those that have a commitment and interest in participating.

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