History of Rogaining - USA

History of rogaining in the United States by Bob Reddick

Bob Reddick organized the first United States rogaine in 1989, established the Rogaining Committee of the United States Orienteering Federation and was its first chairman. Bob is a founding member of the International Rogaining Federation and has represented United States on the IRF since 1989.

After participating in rogaines in Calgary and Kamloops in the late 1980s, I sought help from Neil Phillips at the International Rogaining Federation regarding guidance for running the first rogaine in the United States of America. Books, pamphlets and much advice were provided over many months and for the first time, the vetting of the course was performed on another continent, by Graham Foley at his desk in Melbourne. Publicity through the International Rogaining Federation led to three Australians attending the first USA rogaine and the opportunity was taken to gain considerable media attention and hold public lectures on rogaining in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma.

The first 24 hour rogaine was held over 100 km east of Seattle on the drier eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains in the Wenatchee National Forest. The Buck Meadows camping ground provided an ideal hash house site surrounded by open hills, pine forests and mountain streams. Being 1000 m to 1500m above sea level there was considerable snow on the higher northern-facing slopes and the larger streams posed a significant challenge to safe crossing.

The International Rogaining Federation gave high priority to the development of rogaining in USA because of the extensive suitable areas and the large population base. Close links were developed with the US Orienteering Federation who set up their own rogaining subcommittee. Through this, many other rogaines followed in North America. Shorter rogaines were held in the Adirondacks of eastern USA by Keg Good, Bill Jamieson and their colleagues, whereas the drier Arizona countryside was ideal for desert rogaines. Rogaines also were held in Colorado, California, New York, Virginia and Alaska.

In 1993, the eastern Cascades area was again used for a major rogaine, this time the first Western Hemisphere Rogaining Championships at Table Mountain which were to later become the North American Rogaining Championships.

The success of rogaining in USA is clear from the almost 150 rogaines in 19 different states over the first ten years. Several people have played a key role in this success including IRF delegates Eric Smith and Bob Reddick, leading rogainer and orienteer Peter Gagarin, Keg Good and Karl Moore.

Editors note - as published 11th July 2002, IRF web site