Volunteer’s passion for outdoors shines at Crater Lake Century
By SAMANTHA TIPLER H&N Staff Reporter
Cora Conner is 84 and three-fourths years old, and she is happy to spend a Saturday at Crater Lake, volunteering to assist the 300 cyclists in the Crater Lake Century ride.
“I always enjoy volunteering,” Cora said. “I like feeling needed a little bit. When you get older, you want to feel you’re being constructive.”
She manned the Lodgepole food and aid station halfway up to the rim of Crater Lake. While Cora was friendly with riders and helped keep the food coming, her son, Tim, ran around aiding injured cyclists and helped transport cyclists’ belongings from the aid station to the end of the race.
Tim has been volunteering with Cora since her husband, Paul, died almost five years ago.
“She’s always been active,” Tim said of his mother. “She never gives up. She’d still be skydiving if she could.”
“Oh yes,” Cora chimed in. “I used to skydive.”
Cora and her husband led an extremely active life. Aside from skydiving six times with the Eugene Skydivers group, they traveled near and far for outdoor activities.
They traveled to Alaska, where they canoed and rafted down mighty rivers.
“I love whitewater rafting,” she said. “That’s really fun.”
Closer to home they rafted the Klamath and Rogue rivers. Cora has been down the entire navigable stretch of the Klamath River, usually by raft. She said she boated the last 50 miles just last year with Tim.
Cora and Paul climbed Mount Scott and “all the trails up here,” Cora said.
She and Paul also ran the 6.7-mile course of the Crater Lake Rim Runs, Cora running it four times. Her husband won for the 70-plus age division and once Cora came in second, she said proudly.
“I huffed and puffed,” she said.
Cora grew up in Bly. Her husband was from Idaho. Paul was in the Army and then worked as the campus electrician at the Oregon Institute of Technology.
“Go Owls!” she said with a smile.
When they married she said she had conditions.
“To marry me you’ve got to be able to dance and have fun,” she said. “I don’t want a stick-in-the-mud.”
Cora has been volunteering with the Crater Lake Century for seven years, two with her husband and five with her son since Paul passed away.
“I’ve volunteered all my life,” she said.
Cora volunteered as a cub scout leader, her husband as a boy scout leader. In the past, they volunteered at the Baldwin Hotel Museum. They were foster parents for eight years and Cora worked as a nanny for families she still keeps in touch with.
Working at the aid station at the Crater Lake Century, she meets people from far away, but also old friends she sees every year on the 100-mile bicycle ride.
“I love the people,” Cora said.
|Cora Conner working the SAG at Lodgepole, 2009|
Cora has lived in the Bly and Klamath Falls area for over 70 years and is currently 83 years old. This will be Cora’s 6th year volunteering for the Crater Lake Century Bike Ride. She is also a volunteer for the Klamath County Museum and the Tea Party.
Some of her past activities include skydiving, hot air balloon rides, canoeing both racing at Odell Lake and long distant including a 350 mile trip down the Noatak River in Alaska ending at the Bearing Sea. Alaska, being Cora’s favorite place to be in the summer, she has also rafted the Alsek River, spent 5 days in a wilderness camp on Kodiak Island, visited the Aleutian Islands and many other adventures.
Cora has ran the Crater Lake Rim Run in the 6.7 mile entry 4 times placing second in the age 60 and over and Ran the Lake of the Woods Run many times with her best finish being first place in the 70 years and over class. Be sure to stop at the Lodgepole SAG and say hello to Cora and ask her about her many other adventures.
Bill Haskins, Ride Coordinator