Ride for Chris & Bitterroot Gym
Chris was a gifted student, a good friend, a son who made his parents so proud. He was accomplished and talented in most things he took on: he was a great musician, played cello, guitar, wrote music and songs; his compelling essays showed his talent as a writer.
But his true passion in life was gymnastics. He was a natural athlete and determined to make his body master the routines – the “tricks” as he called them - he took on. His sweat, sore muscles and bruises paid off: he either won or placed in several state and regional competitions.
Since his senior year in high school, he taught and coached at Bitterroot Gymnastics . This gym was his home, it’s where he had his friends, it’s where he touched his students’ lives, where he taught them that you can make yourself do impossible things when you put your mind and body to it.
I miss Chris every minute of every day. I want to honor his life by doing something physically and mentally hard myself. I have chosen to ride the Tour Divide on a specially designed mountain bike which I called Dirty Medicine. This self-supported ride will take me on backroads and trails from Banff, Canada to the southern border of New Mexico, following the Continental Divide. I plan for this to take me 50 days and I will dedicate every drop of sweat and every bit of soreness and aching to Chris’ memory.
I hope my friends and family will sponsor my effort. All donations will go directly to the Bitterroot Gym. The donations’ goal is determined by a detailed equipment list, see below. It would be Chris’ most wonderful legacy if we can complete this goal and have “his” gym flourish in his memory.
Our goal goes beyond creating great athletes and artists. We hope to assist in the process of growing individuals who are confident, responsible and love the process of learning. We strive to sincerely accept every individual in our programs for who they are in an open and caring way. We reward sincerely and openly each success big and small.
Although our greatest and most important tools are our teachers, having a variety of good and safe equipment and replacing worn and outdated equipment helps us to better fulfill our mission. With each added piece of equipment Chris will be remembered an honored.
“Chris was an awesome individual. We all loved him and appreciate deeply the time, experiences, friendship, and association we had the privilege of sharing with him. He was family to so many of us. He was also a great role model and mentor to the kids he coached. He was kind, gentle, fun, goofy, sweet and encouraging. He was a talented athlete and for many years Roots was his home. Anyone who knew Chris knows he is dearly missed.”
When the act of expressing praise on a child befalls a parent the words are easily given by this mother and certainly by his father Jerry Ramsey. Rather than using my words when it comes to complimenting Chris and his many accomplishments…I would like to share a beautifully written piece by his mentor, coach and close friend. Chris is one of three amazing sons and I wish that when I finally figure out this life that I am able to be the amazing grownup that my three sons have become.
“It is tough to write anything that is uplifting when faced with such an unexpected tragedy, but it is very easy to write an uplifting piece about Chris. When I think about Chris’ life I think about two remarkable things. I think about the positive effects that he had on those around him, and how he was able to live his life by striving to improve at the things that he loved doing.
Chris at one time wrote a paper on how I was an influential part of his life, and what he may not know is that I did the same for him. When I was applying for the Masters in Education program, I wrote about how Chris was a driving force in helping me figure out that coaching and teaching is what I wanted to do in my life. Chris was an amazing student to have. He was willing to try new things, even if he did not want to. He was willing to work hard, even if he had a bad day. Then, when he saw improvement in himself, his excitement was infectious. Chris’ attitude and hard work made me see that I could make a difference in someone’s life which has now dramatically changed my own.
As Chris got older he did what all good coaches and teachers hope to see out of their students, he started taking on the responsibility of helping his teammates. Some days he would help cheer Adam or Mason up when they got frustrated at practice. Mostly, he led by example with hard work and a smile. When I heard that Chris was (officially) coaching, I could not have been happier because I knew that he would continue to be a positive influence on the next generation of gymnasts and because I knew that he would be doing something he loved.
Chris loved gymnastics. He loved improving at the sport and seeing others improve. Chris’ life should be an example for everyone in that a person should not only do what they love, but also work hard to improve at their passions. For Chris it was never about being the best, it was about being his best. He had the most fun by constantly improving at gymnastics, and was even willing to continue this after high school. Chris loved gymnastics and did not care if continuing his passion is something that is not normally done. Not everyone’s passion is in gymnastics, but everyone can work hard to improve at what they love. For me, it is teaching mathematics and being a husband. From now on, if I ever get too stressed out or frustrated, I will think about Chris, put a smile on my face like he did so many times, and try to get better and better at what I love. I will forever be thankful that I had the pleasure of working with Chris and I know that his influence will be with both me and many others for the rest of our lives.”