Activities Spokane

Why Is Bare Buns Fun Run So Famous?

Kaniksu Ranch Spokane

Runners can find just about any type of race to participate in these days. Whether you’re a princess on the go, a spartan looking for a conquest or you want to run 5 kilometers naked through the woods.  Yup, I said it. How did this happen?

It all starts at Kaniksu Ranch, located north of Spokane near Deer Lake. While any local Spokanites would consider anything north of Francis basically Canada, this family friendly nudist resort is only about an hour and change from downtown Spokane. That is if you can successfully avoid hitting every red light on Division. Good luck with that. Honestly, it’s a pretty drive and time flies with a great podcast and stunning visuals along the way. After you get off the main highway, you’ll hit a dirt road and won’t see much in terms of civilization. You’ll actually end up driving through the Little Pend Oreille Wild Life Refuge. Keep the drive slow and don’t feed the bears. Eventually you’ll need to get a lock combination that you should get prior to your adventure.

After a great drive, you’ll come upon a classic looking camp resort. As you drive up to the registration building, you’ll notice a great pool, a hot tub and several other buildings. Members of the club even have cabins, RV’s and tiny homes onsite. Many members from Memorial Day to Labor Day call it home. Membership is affordable and the amenities are ample. Kaniksu Ranch is home to approximately 260 acres of forest, trails and a resort that turns many first timers into regulars. Kaniksu Ranch has been around since 1939 and hosts numerous activities and events. The Bare Buns Fun Run being the most popular.

The Bare Buns Fun Run started in 1984 and has been a staple for runners and walkers from zero to the 70 and up category. All are welcome regardless of age, body type or physical ability. Even pregnant moms have participated. While the race itself is the main draw, the festival atmosphere is what brought me to the ranch. Activities begin Friday and go on through Sunday Evening culminating with a potluck.

There are a multitude of campsites, some with power and water while others are perfect for dry camping. Bare Buns being the draw that it is, means that the main grassy area becomes the “tent village.”

Bare Buns Fun Run

If you don’t have an RV and tents aren’t your style, there are even rooms available in the main lodge building. The camping is inexpensive and with the musical entertainment provided, this is the best value for entertainment in the Pacific NorthWest. Most guests arrive Friday and camp for a few days to take advantage of the pool… Don’t worry guys, it’s heated. There are two hot tubs and a sauna as well. If you’re lucky you might even get a campsite next to the pond. I wouldn’t recommend taking a dip there though.

The musical selection changes year to year. There may be a live band or a DJ on both Friday and Saturday nights. Obviously glow sticks and body paint are standards when you’re partying in the middle of the forest. It’s great to see kids, adults and seniors all enjoying music and dancing together. You usually only see those demographics grooving together at weddings, so it’s pretty refreshing to see everyone having a great time beneath the stars. Without the light pollution you kind of forget how many are up there. As folks head to bed, a few hard-core folks tend to keep the party going. People don’t just come for the race but it’s a great way for many to just unplug and unwind. No internet, no phone, no worries.

The members all pitch in and do what they can to make the experience a great one for all. There is a great kitchen in the main lodge that turns out 3 meals a day during race weekend and at a reasonable price. Trust me, it’s well worth not having to haul food and ice only to see a great dish being served and end up buying the meal anyway. There’s a dedicated security staff to ensure that campers always feel safe. Also a custodial crew that makes sure that the facilities and amenities are at their best at all times of the day.

off-road electric scooter

Speaking of all times of the day, I brought along my off-road electric scooter and rode the trails around the ranch. I even saw a black bear cub, after a quick U-Turn, I decided to tell everyone, it was a grizzly. I get paid for accuracy on this site, not in my personal stories.

On Saturday, a group of Hashers show up for one of the craziest races that you’ll ever be a part of. The Cracked Moon Hash House Harriers host what’s known around the resort as “The Hash”.  This race with an unknown course starts at 2pm every year, a day before the race. It’s a party. With running shoes, not much else. The race starts with a beer in hand for the pre-race stretches and songs. The goal is to catch the rabbit. The rabbit gets a decent head start and only he knows the correct trail. After giving him ample time, we set forth. Walkers and runners journey together and try to find the “true” path.

The fast runners will come to a split in the path and head off in a direction. Only one path leads true and by the time a runner discovers that they are on the wrong path they yell “OFF OFF” to let the rest of the folks behind them know that they need to turn around to find the correct trail. By the time they get back to the split, I’m ahead of them as a walker screaming “ON ON” so that they can catch up. There’s usually a beer stop in the middle of the “race” for refreshment and to get everyone together to share a laugh.

By the time the race is over, both runners and walkers finish at about the same time. Then comes “the circle”. Here, jokes are told and legends of the trail are made. Bring a bad joke and you’re sitting bareback on a block of ice.

Saturday evening festivities continue and the spaghetti carbo load begins. It’s a steal of a deal and the huckleberry ice cream is next level. After that, another night of dancing and fun. Stay up late and party or head to bed early… it’s your call.

The day of the race is what you’d expect –  just nude. There are serious athletes and even parents with strollers. All are welcome to participate and this is an officially timed race. If you need this as a 5K qualifier then it’s a really cool way to do it. You can run the race clothed or nude, that’s up to you. However, if you finish nude then you get a “nude finisher” t-shirt. Wearing the shirt around the office might get you called into HR though.

Post-race, a DJ plays music, folks are swimming in the pool and milling around waiting for the results. Shortly after having some time to enjoy the resort, the awards ceremony occurs where runners are given their medals and the applause that they are due. Many leave but some stay and socialize, swim and just plain old relax.

You’d think that an article about a nude race would really be full of puns and stories of embarrassment. However, in all sincerity after about 10 minutes the nude aspect just isn’t really a big deal.

Kaniksu Ranch - Bare Buns Fun Run

Some of us are on the fluffy side, while other folks look like they could be models. Again, this is a family friendly event. Body shaming just doesn’t happen. Everyone is proud of the skin they’re in and even if they lack confidence, the friendly environment will change that in very short order. I personally have turned strangers into lifelong friends from this event.

This is a weekend long festival environment that draws folks from all over the region and as far away as Alaska and Canada. It’s fun, it’s friendly and if you’re afraid that you’d see someone from work, it’s funny how being nude in a safe space can drop all the obstacles in your way from really getting to know a person. If you want to read the full story, then drop me an email via Clever Neighbor. It’s pretty funny. If not, then I’ll see you on the last weekend of July next year and tell you the story in person. Lock it in on your calendar because it’ll be a highlight of your year.

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