Stanford transforms into ‘Oz’ for Bourbon Chase runners; City wins ‘most spirited community’ award again

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, October 17, 2023

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By Abigail Roberts


STANFORD – From flying monkeys to the Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch of the North, Stanford put on its best Wizard of Oz show for Bourbon Chase runners last weekend.

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Lincoln County Chamber Director Andrea Miller said it couldn’t have been done without the full team effort.

The theme was “The Wizard of Oz” and community volunteers spent hours decorating the town with themed murals and ‘Yellow Brick Road’ directions for runners, as well as making cookies.

Stanford is known by Bourbon Chase runners as “Cookie Town,” and this year, Lincoln County High School students baked 1,400 cookies for the event.

The Bourbon Chase brought about 220 relay teams, each consisting of about six to 12 people.

“Easily over 1,000 people came through Stanford,” Miller said.

Music was provided by Tim Estes, who dressed up as the Wizard of Oz. Estes facilitated the “Dancing in the Street” event for runners.

Stanford Mayor Dalton Miller dressed up as the Tin Man, Andrea Miller dressed up as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and Denise Bastin dressed up as the Wicked Witch of the West.

Food vendors were on site for runners, as well as snacks.

There were photo ops set up for runners to enjoy after finishing their leg of the race.

Miller said the event drew crowds from everywhere, and many locals turned out to experience the fun.

“People came out from the community to help support the vendors and see the experience,” she said.

It couldn’t have been done without the committee and volunteers who dedicated their time to the event, Miller said.

For the seventh year in a row, Stanford was voted by Bourbon Chase runners as the Most Spirited Community.

“A total team effort. We couldn’t have done it without everyone,” She said. “Very much a team effort and super pleased that we won again. That’s what we do, and we’re already working on next year.”

In a letter following the event, Ragnar Relay Road Race Director Tami Herchel said Stanford embodied the Wizard of Oz theme entirely.

“Stanford is the defending champion of the Most Spirited Community and it’s this kind of continual support that makes this race so special,” Herchel said. “…they are amazing and truly a priceless gem along this course!”

Miller said the local Bourbon Chase committee is already starting to plan for next year’s race.