Missoula honors “Dancing Man” with dance-off at Caras Park

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 17:57:34-04

MISSOULA – He was a Missoula celebrity who was brilliant and unique, and maybe strange at times, but he was loved and enjoyed. And on Wednesday, dozens remembered Dancing Man in a way he’d surely appreciate. 

"I hope you get up here and for Ron, for his wife and for all of Montana, I hope you dance," said Charley Macorn. "Thank you very much"

And dance they did on a sunny afternoon, in jean shorts and with wild abandon, in honor of Missoula’s Dancing Man.

On Wednesday in Caras park, the Missoula Downtown Association and the Zootown Arts Community Center invited people to dance one last time in honor of 77-year-old Ron Kephart.

Many didn’t know him personally, but most have seen him doing his thing at live music events in Missoula.

Naomi Gerheim also came out to celebrate Ron.

"Not only was he, just, this great person who had this wonderful spirit. He danced like he didn’t care," Gerheim said. "And he loved it and he was just here because he loved it and he didn’t care what people said. He knew people were teasing him, but all I ever had for him was love."

It was one week ago that Ron was dancing like he always did at Caras Park during Out to Lunch when he suffered a cardiac incident and died later at the hospital. But although he’s not here anymore, his spirit lives on.

And for a few minutes, for one song, we were all Ron Kephart, dancing like no one was watching. Because really, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

"I was so proud to get out there and dance one last dance for him with my friends," Gerheim said. "But it’s amazing to be here in this town he loved in this place he loved and say goodby to Ron, to a well-loved Missoulian.

According to his obituary, Ron is survived by his wife, Sue; and daughter, Anne.