Dan Bulkley, 92, leads the Southern Oregon Nordic Club at Buck Prairie Nordic Park on Dead Indian Memorial Road. Mail Tribune Photo Jamie Lusch - Jamie Lusch

There's no quit in this sports junkie

It would be hard to find anyone who exemplifies a lifestyle of fitness more than Dan Bulkley.

In 20 years of participating at national and world competitions in various track and field events, as well as winter cross-country skiing contests, he has amassed a collection of 151 gold medals from 109 national competitions and 42 world events. Throw in his pile of silver and bronze medals, together with several world records that have yet to be broken, and his achievements become legion.

Now here is the amazing part: Bulkley started this string of victories at the age of 70. He will be 91 this year and he is still competing.

Bulkley is not an imposing figure. He is living proof that to be in prime physical shape, one does not need to look like the Governor of California. In fact, by his own admission, he is not compulsive about working out — he's just consistent in his habits.

During the winter, his routine will put him in the weight room two or three times a week and out on the snow a couple of times when possible.

This sort of lifestyle has not only won him many medals, but also recognition for his balanced approach to fitness. In 1988, at 71 years of age, he was awarded the St. Charles Hospital "Par" trophy for being the fittest person in the Bend Pole-Pedal-Paddle. At 75, he was named "Track Athlete of the Year." At 82, he was inducted into National Masters Track & Field Hall of Fame and the USA Badminton Senior Hall of Fame. On the winter sports side, he has been named to the U.S. Master's Cross Country Ski Team six times, most recently at age 88.

In track and field he has medaled in distances ranging from 100 meters to 10 kilometers, with steeplechase, hurdles, shot put, discus, javelin, pole vault, tennis, badminton, pentathlons, decathlons and other events thrown in.

His cross-country skiing acumen runs the gamut from 5k to 50k, including classic and skate, individual and relay. National events have taken him and his wife, Marjorie, through most of the states. International competitions have allowed them to see nearly all of Western Europe, as well as Japan and Australia.

Bulkley was raised in Thailand, the son of a medical missionary, schooled in India, then ended up in Claremont, Calif., during high school. He attended Pomona College, where he was tennis-team captain and all-conference in football before he graduated with a master's degree in physical education and health.

After a turn in the military during World War II, and a short teaching stint in Southern California, Bulkley took a job at what was then known as Southern Oregon College of Education in 1950. He spent his career teaching health and physical education, while coaching tennis and track. It was here that his love for winter sports took root.

Bulkley was an early booster of Mount Ashland, helping to generate the local interest that led to the development of the mountain. In the late '50s, he started a ski club at the college. It began with him setting up a rope tow on the Siskiyou Summit. By the time Ski Ashland was operational in the early '60s, the college ski program had grown to 500-plus students.

He helped set up the National Ski Patrol at Mount Ashland, where he was the director for the first two years, then spent 26 more actively patrolling. In 1966, he and two like-minded friends, Bill Pruitt and Bob Huff, formed a local chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club, which now has more than 100 members. Bulkley still leads ski tours and teaches cross-country skiing through the club.

That is typical of this man. With all his achievements, he still takes time to help others with their fitness aspirations.

Chris Adams is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Email him at

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