Jedi knights and Sith lords. Ghosts and Ghostbusters. The Tyrannosaurus rex and whoever believed they could control the beast.
They were natural adversaries, so of course they ran together Saturday morning through a mile-and-a half of Pendleton streets, part of the annual Kyle Burnside Dress-Up Parade Fun Run.
This year’s event came close to shutting down. Smoke from regional forest fires dropped air quality most of the week and prompted schools to cut or reschedule outside activities. Nicole Stewart, the track and cross country coach for Pendleton High School, said readings Saturday morning showed the air quality improved enough to hold the run.
Some 60 of the high school’s 70 cross country and track team participated, she said, along with several students from the Sunridge Middle School and the Nixyaawii Community School, Pendleton. Groups came as Disney princesses and patriotic Americans, while individuals dressed as a hurricane, a Viking, even a rooster. Few came as superheroes.
Stewart admitted she was a bit concerned the teen in the T. rex get-up representing the Jurassic Park franchise might have difficulty breathing and probably would not run so much as shuffle.
A handful of adults also entered, including Fred Robinson Jr., animal doctor at Riverside Veterinary Clinic. He dressed as a surgeon.
Students sold $10 tickets all week, Stewart said, for a raffle of an $80 package at Wildhorse Resort & Casino, Pendleton, and a $150 prize from the Pendleton Round-Up. All the proceeds from the raffle benefited the Kyle Burnside Memorial Scholarship, which provides college scholarships to PHS cross country and track athletes.
Burnside died in 2010 in a car crash at the age of 21. While at Pendleton High, he competed in cross country and track and volunteered with the Roundup City Racers youth track program. Stewart said the goofiness is a fitting tribute to Burnside, who earned a reputation for team spirit and his good nature.
“Today’s not about running,” she said. “Today’s about team bonding.”
The seven members of the Ghostbusters team agreed. Four held bright-colored plastic water pistols and dressed in white disposable coveralls akin to biohazard suits, while three came as the ghosts, including the spectral character Slimer.
Katie Bradt, 15, said someone suggested they all run as ghosts, an idea with a half-life of about a second until someone popped off with “No — Ghostbusters!”
Teammate Keyshawn Jackson, 16, said he has enjoyed the run since eighth grade, and running together is more fun. Kiaya Spencer, 16, agreed the race was about having a good time over winning.
They also said they get a kick out of the crowd recognizing the costumes.
The Main Street Cowboys awarded trophies to the first male and female to cross the finish line, but the race is not timed. And the crowd along the starting line at Southwest Dorion Avenue and Fourth Street helped select winners for the costume contest, which included best male and female in youth and high school categories, as well as best group.
The Ghostbusters took home that one.