veteran journalist Buckli will be honored for career covering ski jumping
by Doug Pearson
For decades, Ron Buckli has been writing sports stories for the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram. A former football coach and longtime runner, Buckli has kept us informed about prep football and foot races in Eau Claire and the Midwest. But he is the primary record keeper for all things ski jumping in Eau Claire. He is the author of Riding on the Wind: Eau Claire Ski Jumping, 1886-2008 and The Flying Eagles and the School Yard Jump. He has been the reporter on duty at Eau Claire ski jumping tournaments since the 1960s. His efforts as a journalist led to his installation in the American Ski Jumping Hall of Fame. This award noted his wider fame as assistant chief of press at the 1980 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games. People in ski jumping capitals such as Ishpeming, Thunder Bay, Lake Placid, Park City, Westby and Madison, know and appreciate his work.
On Sept. 18, the Waldemar Ager Association and Museum, Center for Nordic Culture, will celebrate Buckli’s decades-long reporting of all things related to area ski jumping. The Sept. 18 program will celebrate local ski jumping as well as Buckli’s ongoing efforts to document annual ski jumping events and the achievements of local jumpers. For Buckli it’s not just a job. It’s a special aspect of local history that he describes every time he writes up the preparations for and the results of area competitions. Buckli’s appreciation for sports at all levels led also to his creation of annual 2- and 5-mile races in Carson Park benefiting the Special Olympics. Established as the Buckshot, this event has appeared on the fall running calendar for more than 30 years. As with his coverage of ski jumping, Buckli pays attention to all levels of participation, interviewing champions and also-rans and letting the community know that another wonderful event has helped make Eau Claire a city to grow in. If you want to know about aspiring and developing ski jumpers or runners, Buckli has the information.
Jerry Poling will open the program and introduce Buckli. A former colleague at the sports desk of the Leader-Telegram, Poling is a cross-country skier and perennial participant in the American Birkebeiner. And he knows a thing or two about Buckli’s work.
Also featured at this program will be some of Eau Claire’s youngest ski jumpers. They will talk about what got them started in the sport, how they train, and what their goals are. And we’ll hear from Emily Anderson, an Eau Claire skier who first qualified for an Olympic-sanctioned women’s ski jumping event in 2012, when she was just 16. We also expect to get updates on the training and achievements of Nick and Nate Mattoon, local ski jumpers who have competed across the world. And we anticipate some news about Adam and Ben Loomis, both of whom compete in ski jumping but have added Nordic combined (jumping and cross-country skiing) to their training and Olympic aspirations. Helping provide some world-of-ski-jumping perspective will be U.S. Ski Jumping Hall-of-Famer Dan Mattoon. Well aware of the rich history of ski jumping in Eau Claire, Mattoon will comment on the Olympic dreams of local athletes, recent developments at Silver Mine Hill, and the opportunity to help the community make its mark on national and international ski jumping.
Help the Waldemar Ager Association acknowledge and honor Ron Buckli’s community spirit and celebrate local ski jumping.
Waldemar Ager Association Honors Journalist Ron Buckli • 7:30pm • Monday, Sept. 18 • Eau Claire Room, L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St., Eau Claire • FREE