Pinedale Turkey Trot 2015
25th Anniversary Celebration
by Terry Allen
November 30, 2015
You could see twin pillars of fire leaping
out of the burn barrels in front of Craig
and Ellen Sheppard’s house as you entered
the long snow covered lane. Four-wheel-
drive cars and trucks parked deep into the
borrow pits on either side of the road as
if 8 inches of the still coming down snow
would not pose a threat of getting stuck.
Craig and Ellen Sheppard held the first
Turkey Trot 25 years ago.
"A bunch of us had moved here to
teach and we couldn’t drive a thousand
miles to get home for Thanksgiving, so we
just got together at our house and had our
first run," said Ellen. "We didn’t even
have any furniture in the house, in fact,
we didn’t have any furniture for five
years," she said. "Some say we still
shouldn’t have gotten furniture, because
we used to go in the house to keep warm
and have food. Now we are using the garage
instead." "We were just four or five
families for a while. We’d move from house
to house to hold the events. People would
run, bike, ski and ride horses and they
This year, the supremely fit Amber Robbins
pushed her two boys in a three wheeled
covered carriage around the three mile
course that started at the Sheppard’s
garage on Sportsman’s Loop, then connected
with south Tyler, and jumped onto the
trail in Boyd Skinner Park across the
street from the Murdock’s house. Wyatt
Sheppard took his four-wheeler and pushed
as much snow off the trails and roads as
he could, but Amber was working like a
musher…and sounding like one too as she
dug in with her cleated boots and pushed
her loaded carriage up and over Harmony
Bridge in the deep snow…only five minutes
behind the eventual first place winner
David Rule, who would best his winning
time of last year’s event by almost two
In spite of his exceptional time this
year, David felt the conditions were
challenging. "I should have worn
crampons," he said. "It was slippery in
the deep snow. It’s usually snowing, but
one year the weather was dry enough that I
competed on my unicycle."
The deep snow caused more than a few to
trot or walk rather than risk injury in
the snow, but First Place female finisher
Katie Rutherford seemed oblivious. "It was
an awesome race," she said. "You couldn’t
ask for better conditions. I loved running
with all the dogs in the snow. I’m looking
forward to The Frosty 5K and the Indoor
Triathlon coming up at the PAC."
Daxton Zook, age 7, stood around the
blazing burn barrel with his brother Gaige
and showed off his basketball shoes that
he had just worn in the race. "I figured
they were best for the snow and for
climbing Harmony Bridge," he said. Gaige
thought the race conditions were perfect
for his style of running. "I think running
in the snow is cool because it kind of
keeps you cool and warm at the same time,"
Baylee Henn, age 5, crossed the finish
line with her mother and gave a deep sigh.
"I really liked running in the park the
best," she said. "But the snow got real
deep, so Dad gave me a piggy back ride to
help me finish."
When things get hard, Wyoming folks get
resourceful. But, one year an out of
towner might have taken it a bit too far.
"One of the participants changed the
orange course cones around to divert other
runners, while he took a shortcut to win
the race," said Ellen Sheppard. "He was
our Turkey that year."
At 12 degrees, this was not the coldest it
has ever been for the Pinedale Turkey
Trot. "It was 20 below one year and the
wind was blowing," said Craig Sheppard.
"The new school superintendent
participated but his eye lids froze shut
and it took some to get them thawed back
open. The whole thing made him wonder
about the hardiness of the folks he’d be
What makes a guy host 25 years of a winter
running event? "The neat part for me is
when graduated kids come back from school
for the first time and run in the Trot,"
said Craig. "They often meet school
friends here at the race and they have so
much fun they plan on meeting here for
next year’s run…and they keep doing it.
That’s why I do it."
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