Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Unexpected Obstacles: Running Wild Adventure Race Organizers Regroup after Wildfires

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Unexpected Obstacles: Running Wild Adventure Race Organizers Regroup after Wildfires

Article excerpt

WOODWARD - In early May, retired attorney Jamie Kee was preparing for the Running Wild Adventure Race, a 3.75-mile course on a ranch he owns with his brother near Mooreland.

The race was organized to raise money to support Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma's Woodward office and was scheduled for June 14.

But the race was postponed after wildfires on May 4 scorched the ranch.

"We have about 2,500 acres and about 2,400 acres burned," Kee said. "We had to move all our cattle. We only lost two or three head of cattle, but we had major issues with fencing."

Although Running Wild was planned as an adventure race with natural and man-made obstacles, Kee and his two event co- chairpersons, Erin Kirksey, Kee's daughter and a Woodward attorney, and Richard Kirksey, Kee's son-in-law, were forced to postpone the race.

"It was not a clean site," Kee said of the fire-scorched ranch.

About 80 percent of the trees on the ranch were destroyed.

"We have had cattle roaming free because the fire destroyed a lot of fences," Kee said last week.

But now the ranch is starting to turn green again after recent rains, fence builders are coming to the ranch and the race has been rescheduled for Sept. 20.

"After the fire it looked a bit like Mars with the Oklahoma red dirt," Richard Kirksey said. "But it is starting to green up again and it will be fine for the race."

Richard and Erin Kirksey live in a house on the ranch. They thought their home had been destroyed by the wildfire.

"We talked with the fire chief and he said the house was probably gone," said Richard Kirksey, who works for American Fidelity Assurance Co. "So we assumed the house was gone."

But when they returned to the ranch after the fire, their home was still standing. The fire got within about 15 feet of the house.

"We went back down there to see what happened and sure enough the house was still sitting there," Richard Kirksey said. "There was this little plot of green surrounded by black, but after the rains things are starting to turn green again."

Now Kee, his son-in-law, daughter and other race organizers are working to prepare the ranch for the rescheduled Running Wild. …

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