The 7th annual Rush Creek Stampede races, consisting of a half marathon and a 5K, took place on Sat., Oct. 21, on the Rush Creek loop road and at Cambridge Elementary School.  This year’s Stampede, sponsored each fall by the Upper Country Education Foundation as a fund raiser for our local schools, was once again a very successful and enjoyable event, despite the intermittent rain showers during the races.  
In addition to the nearly 175 participants, there were many family and friends as well as community members who came out to wish them well and cheer them on.  Some of the top race results are as follows:  Half-Marathon, top 3 male finishers: 1. Timothy Dunne, with a time of 1:20.05; 2. Jereth Phelps, 1:36.47; and 3. Mike Slaughter, 1:43.39.  For the ladies, 1st place went to Amanda Dunne, who finished in 1:28.59 (putting her in 2nd overall); in 2nd was Jessica Chatterton, 1:41.03; and 3rd was Jenni Bradley, 1:48.37.
Quite a few local students ran successfully in the 5K race, with 5 of the 6 top finishers being students at Cambridge High School.  The top 3 male finishers were: 1.  Teddy Ertel, with a time of 19:18.79; 2. Brendan Wood, 24:27.09; and 3. Jonathon Rodgers, 24:32.01.  The top 3 female finishers were: 1. Jessica Graham, clocking a time of 23:54.79 (which placed her in 2nd overall); 2. Grace Ertel, 24:39.27; and 3. Zoe Ertel, 27:25.09.  
The full results for both races are listed on Rush Creek Stampede’s Facebook page.
  Also adding to the festivities and, certainly, to the success of the event every year, are the many local volunteers who donate their time and energy in helping with all aspects of the race—registration; parking; transportation; information; safety; providing water, energy drinks and encouragement to all the racers along the course; and feeding everyone afterwards, to name just a few.   We greatly appreciate your enthusiasm and your support.
 We would like to mention, specifically, several groups who are among those important volunteers.  Surviving Hearts has manned a water station for the racers just about every year we’ve run the Stampede, and we certainly appreciate their support as well as their cause.  Many of the students also contributed to the success of the day, both as individual racers or at some of the water stations.  On Saturday, a group of FFA students cheered on the racers at the FFA water station; and the FTC (senior Lego Robotics team) at Cambridge High School helped wash dishes in the kitchen, some of them after having run the 5K.
The comments overheard on race day and afterwards are overwhelmingly positive.  People especially love the country and the Rush Creek loop course, the friendliness of the local community and that hearty, delicious lunch awaiting them back at school after they’ve finished.  
The organizing committee would also like to recognize and thank all the businesses and individuals who sponsored the race through cash donations, supplies and/or services.  Our very generous sponsors include Friends & Family of Jackie A. Whitlatch, Gladhart Logging,  Cambridge Telephone Company, Weiser River Cattle Assn., Cambridge Litho, Inc., Idaho Power,  Ontario Physical Therapy, Cambridge Lumber Co., MTE Communications, Jay’s Sinclair & Loveland’s General Store, Upper Country Electric, Inc., Shy Simon’s Pizza, McU Sports, Noahs Angus Ranch, B.A. Warren & Associates, Creed Noah Real Estate,  Mountains West Dental, Commercial Tire,  Salubria Center Assisted Living, Hells Canyon Adventures, Cuddy Mountain Trail Co., Shu’s Idaho Running Co., Two Rivers Medical Clinic, Kalyn Hochstrat-- Financial Planner, Jerry’s Auto Parts, Cambridge Hair Mill, Round-up Coffee House, Oregon Natural Market and Mundo Hot Springs.  We greatly appreciate all your continued support.
The first Stampede in 2011 started off well but relatively small, with mostly local participants.  Then, in 2012, the running group Run 4 Heaven’s Gate, who run four consecutive half-marathons for their own cause of helping children with HIV/AIDS and their families in India, joined the race and the numbers shot up to nearly 130 racers that second year.  Heaven’s Gate has returned every year since, and, together with others who have learned about the race, the number of registered participants has steadily increased practically every year.  We greatly appreciate the fact that Heaven’s Gate has chosen to include our race on their schedule for the past six years. 
The benefits of the Rush Creek Stampede, both planned and unforeseen, are many.  It showcases all of the best features of the Upper Country—its beauty and tranquility, the friendliness and camaraderie of its people, and the simple quality of rural life.  Since most of the racers come from the Treasure Valley, it introduces many of them to this part of the state.  Some arrive the night before, stay in local lodging and eat at our restaurants.  Many of them spend additional time browsing through town and have said they plan to return again for a longer and more leisurely visit.