Farmers 5000 Continues to Make History


Joey Huckaby, Marketing Editor

It’s that time of year again (September 17th, 2017), all the Farmers are getting off their tractors to put on their running shoes and participate in the annual Farmers 5000!

Today we have over 20 sponsors providing food, water, and goodies, both before and after the race, and this year first place winner will be given $100 cash! The top three males and females in each age category will be given a gift certificate to Applewood Cafe. Will you be ones of those lucky people?

Have you ever wonder how many years the Farmers 5000 has been in the Wheat Ridge community?

“The idea of hosting a 5k fundraiser was hatched in 1980 by the school’s Key Club and its then-president, Steve Krebs,” said this year’s race coordinator Sydney Ayers.

In 1980, running was the thing to do. Some of the clothes style was even built around running (80s workout). Wheat Ridge High School’s cross country team was a perennial state champions, the years prior to the race. Krebs and the members of the Key Club were able to organize the race less than a year later.

The first-ever Farmers 5000 was held in August of 1981. Athletics, along with Key Club ran the race for many years, but they needed a larger organization to help with funding the race. The PTSA has been running the race as its main fundraiser ever since it took over from the athletic department.

At the current Farmers 5000 you still see every athletic club and many other clubs come out to support the race.  Ever since the first 5000, the community embraced the idea and has supported the race ever since.

The race has been so popular that even famous political leaders participate, such as former Colorado State Governor, Dick Lamm (D), ran the race while he was still in office. Also Congressman Ed Perlmutter has often been seen supporting the Farmers 5000 currently and in years past.

When Ayers was asked what makes the Farmers 5000 so unique, she said “There are a few things that make the Farmers 5000 unique. Most importantly, the race has been going on consistently for 36 years. We believe that makes it among the longest running school 5Ks around. We also think that it’s the family-friendly atmosphere that keeps bringing people back year after year, whether they are competing, volunteering, or supporting the event in another way.”

The annual race is forever evolving; this year’s race organizers are trying to bring in local area businesses to have them participate for “Fittest on the Farm.” Ayers said “The registered business with the most race participants will win a cool farmer-themed trophy and a sponsorship for the 2018 race.” Another new thing the organizers have been trying out is a 1K fun run and an elementary school challenge that has schools  competing against each other to win a small grant (courtesy of the Wheat Ridge Optimist Club).

The Farmers 5000 has earned the high school over three quarters of a million dollars! At registration everyone gets the option to donate $10 of their entrance fee towards any Wheat Ridge High School club or activity. All the rest of the money is evenly distributed to WRHS classrooms. Pam Heiny, race treasurer said, “Every teacher and coach gets to give the race organizers a wish list. We as a committee sit down and decide what wishes we should make come true. Last year we were able to honor at least one wish from everyone’s wish list.” The average amount of money that is raised per race is about $20,000! That number is expected to grow in the coming years.

The Farmers 5000 has many great people working throughout the year to get sponsors, run the website and Facebook page, and do many more tasks. If you would like to help this hardworking group of wonderful volunteers, visit and sign up to volunteer. The amount of volunteers has fallen  in recent years, so sign up and help support a great cause!