Jewel of the Big Sky Trail Run - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Jewel of the Big Sky Trail Run

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LAUREL -

Eastern Montana Appaloosa Horse Club members took runners off the beaten path.

The trail near Rawhide Ranch is usually used by club members for riding horses. But on Sunday, the feet of these runners hit the dirt for the club's first annual trail run.

"Hopefully just another option," said Jared Willems, the run's coordinator, about what the trail run provides. "We have lots of road races. There's several. I mean, if you wanted to run a road race or run something, you're probably run, find something in the Billings area every week. But there's just not a lot of trail runs."

Runners say they enjoy dashing down the trails more than on the road.

"There's not really any trail runs planned now, so we thought this would be an excellent opportunity to get out and do some training and run through the trails and see the beautiful countryside," said Rodd Wohlfeil, a runner. "You get up and down hills. You run around corners, over rocks, jumping, stopping, walking, running, so it's just a lot more active. You're thinking a lot more and you're using different muscles."

The club stationed members on horses to guide runners along the trail. Members say they hope to raise awareness of the club and create a new community event.

"It just kind of expands the opportunities and shows the people that the horse club doesn't have to be just, you know you think of the cowboy or somebody like that, but you know anybody can have interest in horses," Willems said.

Club members say they hope to hold the run again and fundraise for various local charities.

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