From The Desk Of Horse Feathers’ Justin Ringle: “The Ridgerunner (Elusive Loner Of The Wilderness)” By Richard Ripley

So when asked to be a guest editor for MAGNET, my initial reaction was that my inner 18-year-old self might flip out so much that I might have nary a word to say. However, I persevered and was immediately filled with some of the memories of growing up in the proverbial “sticks” in the ’90s. Starting there and moving forward to the present day, I accumulated a list of people, movies, music, food, poets and other stuff that, although not exhaustive by any extent, it gives an insight into me, my music, the band, inspirations and interests. At the very least I would hope that a few of these things may also be viewed as recommendations that could steer people toward becoming acquainted with a few new people, and things that I find dear. It goes without saying, I appreciate the opportunity to “preach from the pulpit,” so to speak and air my opinion on so many different things. Normally people only care about what I say about my music or music in general, which can get tedious. So thank you, MAGNET, for providing the platform to impose my taste on others. Really and truly, I hope someone finds something in here that they, too, can enjoy.


So I grew up in Lewiston, Idaho, right by Highway 12, which is the main artery through a vast expanse of wilderness spanning from Idaho into Montana. It was common around the campfire to hear tales of this character known as the Ridgerunner from since I can remember. Allegedly this guy, who had gone completely feral, would cruise around the forest on stilts made from the legs of deer that made him both taller and impossible to track because, you know, the only trace he would leave behind would be deer hooves. Now in the age of True Detective, which heightened the interest in regional spookiness and bizarre folk shit, I have been left contemplating how weird this guy indeed was. In Richard Ripley’s book, he gives us as close an account as possible about this folk legend separating some of the fact from fiction. What needs to be stressed is that this guy was a real living, breathing person who lived in the woods for decades and evaded the forest services’ best efforts to capture him while in the process created all kinds of havoc to government property and scared everybody in the area for years. While mostly harmless, the guy is a total enigma in many respects, but also considered a hero to some because of his self-reliant anti-social approach to existence. Those people who do consider him a hero in the region in that regard also have an above the mean tendency to also belong to militias. Overall, it’s an interesting true story and a quick read if you want to get down on some Pacific Northwest history.