34 years ago the Leader-Telegram Buckshot Run was the only race in town. Today the annual labor day weekend event draws more than 1,000 runners and walkers from all over the United States.
It all started with the kindness of one man; Ron Buckli. At the time, Ron was a sports writer for the Leader-Telegram newspaper. No one really knew him by that name but instead, his nickname, which is Buckshot.
As an avid runner, Buckshot noticed there weren’t very many running races in the area and none that benefitted a local charity organization. He recruited volunteers, one of which was then Area Director of Development for Special Olympics Wisconsin, Bob Lesniewski. Together the two tackled the intricate details of holding a race in Eau Claire. They also encouraged Special Olympics athletes to participate and be on site to meet and thank runners and walkers.
Appropriately, the event became known as the Buckshot Run. In that first year, 1982, the local newspaper recognized the run’s potential and became the title sponsor of the event.
The Leader-Telegram Buckshot Run has been named one of the top ten races in WI by multiple running magazines. It’s no frills, modest format is what draws hundreds and hundreds of people to the 2 and 5 mile event. 34 years and still running strong, the Buckshot hopes to draw more young folks each year as a way to keep the family tradition going and, in turn, continue to raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes so they, too can enjoy the thrill of sports competition.