Saturday, folks in Ringling will be strapping on their running shoes and stretching their muscles to prepare for the tastiest race they’ve ever run.




Starting at 7:30 a.m., runners will gather in front of The Ringling Eagle newspaper office on East Main Street to compete in several heats in hopes of winning some thick, juicy steaks.


Saturday, folks in Ringling will be strapping on their running shoes and stretching their muscles to prepare for the tastiest race they’ve ever run.


Starting at 7:30 a.m., runners will gather in front of The Ringling Eagle newspaper offic

e on East Main Street to compete in several heats in hopes of winning some thick, juicy steaks.
This annual event is organized each year by husband-and-wife team Al Schneider and Malane Grace. The event raises funds for an annual scholarship for a Ringling High School senior.


“In the past, the scholarships have been $500 and we have had more than one awarded in a given year,” Grace said. “It’s given to a senior who is going to college. They have to write an essay about their community involvement and have to fill out an application. We also like to give it to someone who we have seen volunteer at the race and for the Ringling Chamber of Commerce.”


The Great Steaks Race always draws plenty of participants, with divisions in all the standard age groups, from 8 and younger all the way up to 75. There is also a one-mile fun run for those who want to walk or run. Ribeye steaks will be awarded to the top three men and women in the five-kilometer run, and cowbells will be given to the top three in all age groups.


This annual event is known for its community-wide participation, not just for runners, but those who help out during the day.


The Ringling Student Council students provide traffic control during the race, and the high school FCCLA group makes homemade cookies. There will also be watermelon for participants and spectators to enjoy.


“We get runners from Ardmore and all over Oklahoma and Texas,” Grace said. “Al and I had been doing a lot of 5K races and thought there was a need for scholarships for deserving kids in Ringling. We thought this would be a good way to do it.”


Schneider said each year, a person from Tulsa comes to town to do the timing for the races. After participating for a few years, he had good things to say about Ringling’s Great Steaks Race.


“He was very complimentary of our race,” Schneider said. “He told us there’s really no other race that he times in smaller towns that have the amount of local townspeople come and participate that we do. We have a lot of people who will come out and enjoy the morning and have a good time.”


There are also door prizes given away during the event. Rick Harrison, a 1983 RHS graduate, brings plants from his nursery, Naturescape in Lawton, to give away as prizes.


“Some folks come and unexpectedly go home carrying a 6-foot pine tree,” Schneider said.


“The neat thing we like to see is when the kids are running out there and their parents are, too, setting good examples and being physically fit,” he said. “One family has three generations that run.”


The cost is $13 to preregister and $16 the day of the race. Those interested in participating can call Al Schneider or Malane Grade at (580) 662-2043, or send e-mails to malane-al@sbcglobal.net.