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  • Paul Kitagaki / Eppie Johnson

    Cary Nosler, Kristine Hanson and Eppie Johnson, photographed in 1979. Eppie’s Great Race celebrated its 40th anniversary in July

  • Paul Kitagaki / Eppie Johnson

    Eppie Johnson, competing during the Eppie’s Great Race in Sacramento, Calif. Eppie’s Great Race on July 20 will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year.

  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Eppie Johnson, 85, founder of Eppie’s Great Race is shown at his Sacramento office in July in Sacramento as Eppie’s Great Race celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Remembrances of Eppie Johnson, founder of Great Race and Sacramento restaurant owner

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 - 8:45 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 - 7:57 pm

Energetic and gregarious, Eppie Johnson made his mark on Sacramento as a restaurant owner, philanthropist and founder of Eppie’s Great Race.

He died over the weekend in his sleep at 85 years old. Here, courtesy of a press release informing the media of his death, are some memories of his life:

-- Johnson was an avid skier and all-around athlete.

-- A restaurant advertising campaign by “Professor Eppie” allowed students with straight-A report cards to bring them to an Eppie’s for a free chocolate sundae.

-- The entry fee for Eppie’s first “Great Race” was $10.

-- The first race had 138 participants. The race now draws 2,000.

-- His television commercials featured him carrying a tray of food while on snow skis, water skis or running.

-- In 2003, three citizens of the Czech Republic implemented a similar event there. Johnson has been the official starter of the annual Czech event known as “Epi Vodacky Triatlon.”


Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Read more articles by Bill Lindelof



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