Tuesday, February 5, 2019

V 9 N. 7 David Rimmer , Ohio State PV Champ Rediscovered

This story came to us from Bob Roncker, Cincinnati, OH.  While cleaning out his home before moving, Bob found some photographs from the 1966 Ohio State HS track meet including several of David Rimmer of Mount Healthy, OH making the first 15' polevault by a Ohio high school athlete.  Bob sent out a question to his track and field contacts asking if anyone knew where David Rimmer was today.  He wanted to present the pictures to David and get some background on his history.  Here is the result of that search.

To Pole Vaulting and Track and Field Aficionados,

Here is a synopsis of my search for and locating David Rimmer, 1960s Mount Healthy High School pole vaulter. At the 1966 Ohio State Championship Track and Field Meet, he became the first Ohio high school athlete to clear 15’0.”  Bill Schnier (former U. of Cincinnati head track and cross country coach) recently said, “Although others have surpassed his 15'1", his 1966 mark was vastly better than anyone else and in my opinion he was the star of that meet."

I attended that meet and took slide photos of his 14’10”, 15’0”, and 15’1” clearances.  My wife and I are in the process of moving out of our house of nearly 45 years. While consolidating and eliminating items, I rediscovered these long forgotten slides of David Rimmer. I thought that he, If he was still alive, or members of his family, would appreciate them, since I believe they are historical track and field pieces.  Through the positive marvels of social media he was quickly located.  David lives in Pensacola and is a recently retired judge.  

I am including some information about the process that occurred during this search and what I and others discovered about David.  David would be happy to link up with and communicate with any of you who receive this email.
Preparing to vault at the 1966 Ohio State Track and Field Championships Meet

Clearing 14' 10"
First 15 foot vault in Ohio HS history

Making 15' 1"

Initially I contacted a large list of folks who were on an email sent by Steve Price.  No one knew of his whereabouts.  Then, Bill Schnier relayed to me David’s contact information. It was provided by Leath Sarvo, formerly Leath Scheidt, a friend of Bill and classmate of David. 

Here are an assortment of things that David has shared with me:

There was a black vaulter from LaSalle High School named Nate Ragan, who I got to know at the meets we jumped in. I have always wondered what became of him. 

You are not the first to tell me that pole vaulters are crazy. I truly believe we are. For many years I ran in local 10k and 5k races, since I had no time or place to vault. I am convinced that I could never train as hard as the good runners do. I once read a quote from a famous Olympic distance runner who was asked the secret to his success. He said, "You've got to love suffering...you've got to embrace pain." No thanks. I'll stick to the sky. My best friend in high school was Wayne Brooks. He ran the mile and the 880. I got tired just watching him workout on the track. We stay in touch through email. He lives in Oxford, Ohio. 

After high school, I attended Indiana University for one year then left and came to Pensacola in 1967. I got married in 1968 and have two sons and now have three grandchildren. I became a law enforcement officer and eventually returned to college and received my B.A. in Criminal Justice. During this time, I began pole vaulting again with the local junior college track team and managed to clear 16”. 

I left law enforcement after graduating from college and went to law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and received my J.D. in 1982. I was an Assistant State Attorney for 27 years. In 2009 I became a circuit judge. I retired last month. We live on a small farm where I built a pole vault pit for my grandchildren and other kids in the area. A photo is attached. I may be crazy, but I have started vaulting again at age 71! 

Thank you very much! I never knew about these photos. Again, thank you for taking the trouble to locate me and for sending these pictures. I can't wait to share them with my son and grandson.

My son was a pole vaulter in high school and cleared 15'2". That was 31 years ago and is still the local record for this area. His son is also a high school pole vaulter, at the same school, and has jumped 14'4". We are hoping he breaks his dad's record this year just as my son broke mine. 

I will never forget that 15'1' jump. I was very tired and remember very clearly thinking to myself as I ran down the runway, "I'll never make it...I'm too tired." But somehow, it happened. 

I just received an email from someone named Bobby Heim. Included was a photo from my high school yearbook and a poem that I wrote called The Big Hop. The poem and prelude appeared in Vaulter magazine.

50 years ago a schoolboy in Ohio had a big idea……be the State Champ and Record Holder in the pole vault.
With sawdust pits, heavy poles and big desire, he worked hard to reach success.
With two years left in high school he trained for one thing …… to be the best.
The year was, 1964, and he penned a short poem titled, “The Big Hop.”
Two years later, at the State Meet ……… he made his “Big Hop.”

The Big Hop
Someday I’m going to make the Big Hop.
I’ll go over the bar and then I’ll drop.
I’ll work my way until that day, and then I’ll win it all.
I’ll do my best and never rest until I make that fall.
I’ll jump so high and far no one will ever top.
I’ll strain to touch a star when I make the Big Hop.
In May 1966, David Rimmer, became the Ohio State Champion and Meet Record Holder with a “Big Hop” of 15’1“.
What is your “Big Hop?” What do you want to achieve? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to leap over excellence? Pole Vaulting is a life lesson in courage, and determination. You forge success with persistence, heart, hustle, guts and grit. Take your Vault experience and apply it to life’s challenges. Accelerate through take-off and act as if it were impossible to fail.
Special message delivered by fellow vaulter:  Wayne Rimmer

We spoke to David this morning and got the go ahead to put this story on our blog.
David mentioned that he has gotten over 10 feet these days and is aware that he's not that far off the world record for his age group 11'5".   He'll be hitting the Masters scene this year.
If you wish to contact David, please go through our blog  notice at the top of this article. (ed.) 

This is a follow up by David:Rimmer:

"I need to correct something that is in error. It is being said that I was the first high school vaulter in Ohio to clear 15ft. Actually, that's only true as for the State Championship meet. The State Meet record was 14'5' set by John Linta in 1964. He was the first to clear 15ft when he cleared 15ft 1/2in at the Ohio Classic meet in Mansfield that same year following the State meet. That was the highest of any Ohio high school vaulter in history.The State record could only be set in the State Meet. So in 1966 at the State meet, I broke his state meet record when I cleared 14'6". Then I cleared 14'8', 14'10" and finally 15'1"  to break his all time record. What was remarkable about Linta's 14'5" vault was that it broke the State record of 13'9" held by his father and which had stood for 25 years! I just want to set the record straight. I have always wondered whatever happened to John Linta.
Also, it may be of interest that in 1962, when I lived in southern California, I had the opportunity to meet the world record holder, Dave Tork. He was a Marine Lt. who set the world record of 16'2" on April 28, 1962. After I moved to Ohio, we kept in touch and I spent some time training with him in his home state of West Virginia. He was actually present at the state meet in 1966 and took a photograph of me clearing 15'1." He sent it to me with a type written note. The photo and note are attached here. Dave Tork is now 83 years old and still lives in West Virginia. Every April 28 I call to congratulate him on that world record set so many years ago. Another interesting part about the 1966 state meet is that the kid who finished 2d to me was also coached by Dave Tork. His name was Reggie Corbett from Rocky River. So technically, John Linta was the first high school vaulter in Ohio to clear 15ft and I was the second when I broke his record."

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  Until I was eight years old I lived in Lewisburg, W.Va. where my father was a teacher at Greenbrier Military School where Dave Tork went to high school.  The man who lived upstairs in our house was Donald Bartholomew who was the track coach at GMS and coached Dave Tork.  Dave Rimmer, if you have Dave Tork's phone number I would love to give him a call.

   Bill Schnier

Thought you guys might be interested in seeing the "Eternal Pole 
Vaulter" who greets the young athletes who come here to vault. He got 
that name because he pole vaulted until the day he died... and he's 
still pole vaulting! He's standing next to his favorite Bible verse. We 
call this place "the pole vault farm: where champions are cultivated and 
harvested one jump at a time."

David Rimmer

P.S. He was actually purchased from Walgreens several years ago at 

1 comment:

Dave Elger said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing. Excellent heights considering the equipment they had to work with.

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