Members of the Hammer Jocks are, from left: Doc Ruhenkamp, Dylan Platfoot, Isaac Ruhenkamp and Lee Ruhenkamp | Courtesy Photo

Local Artists, The Hammer Jockeys

The Hammer Jockeys Band originated three years ago, when brothers Lee and Isaac Ruhenkamp decided to start a musical group.

The siblings added a guitarist and their sister, Emily, was also on tap to sing a few songs. Now, a bass player was needed.

Why not add another family member to the mix?

Knowing the many talents their father, optometrist Steve “Doc” Ruhenkamp, has in the musical field, they asked him to join up with them.

Doc Ruhenkamp was in another band that was slowing down. And because his sons knew he could play and sing, run PA equipment and manage the business side, they had their newest member.

“The previous guitar player left so Dylan Platfoot joined on bass,” said Doc, “I went back to guitar and the lineup we know today as the Hammer Jockeys was born.”

According to Doc, the name “Hammer Jockeys” came from a discussion between another musician and himself during the building of a band storage box. “The name has never changed,” Doc said.

All members of the band are from North Star with the exception of Dylan Platfoot who is a Marion Local product.

Lee Ruhenkamp, 26, is the drummer. He is a state-licensed electrician and runs his own electrical business. Brother Isaac, 22, works at Emerson in Sidney as a quality engineer. He does vocals and plays guitar, keyboard and fiddle.

Also performing vocals is their sister, 24-year-old Emily Ruhenkamp-Poeppelman, a high school science teacher in New Knoxville, while Platfoot, 28, does vocals too; plays bass guitar; and works at Post Printing.

The patriarch of the family, Doc Ruhenkamp, at age 53, does vocals and plays guitar and harmonica, all the while running his optometry office in Versailles.

Originally from Russia, Ohio, Doc attended Ohio State University and started his practice in Versailles in 1995. He and his wife, the former Angie Schmitmeyer, have been married for 28 years.

“Angie is a church organist at St. Louis and St. Nicholas Catholic Churches in North Star and Osgood,” he said. “We have six children, three of whom are involved with the band. The other three attend Versailles school and play music as well as being involved with athletics.

The band, featured at many venues and who always performs during the North Star Community Picnic, performs a huge variety of music…country, old and new; Americana; punk rock, old and new rock; and a Disney tune.

“Isaac’s ability to play multiple instruments allows the band to perform this wide variety of music,” Doc said.

Here is the logo for the Hammer Jockeys band which performs at many venues in the area.

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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