Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monday, October 31, 2016

2016 Owyhee Hallowed Weenies: The Perfect Finale

October 31 2016

Everything was just perfect for the last Owyhee ride of the endurance season: the timing of the weather, the trails, the great Halloween costumes, the horses, the people, the music.

An intimate gathering of endurance friends showed up to ride: 22 in the 25-mile ride, and 14 in the 50.

It rained for a couple of hours Friday night - the exact perfect amount to leave the trails in perfect condition, not slick, not a bit of dust, and packed down just right. The rain stopped at the perfect time during the night so that horses were dry (although very dirty from rolling!) for saddling up. Temperatures during the day hung in the 60's - perfect for horses already haired up for the winter. The perfect fall scenery decorated the ride, with maroon quail bush and bright golden cottonwood trees along the creeks, the Owyhee mountains playing hide-and-seek with rain clouds, and tendrils of fog drifting up some of the drainages throughout the day.

Costumed Hallowed Weenie riders and horses scampered about the Owyhee desert: Wonder Woman on her Wonder Horse, a happy clown, a mother dalmatian and her spotted litter of puppies (the racing mule junior riders!), a black widow spider and its (horse) web, the Sheriff of Naughty-Ham chasing a couple of convicts, a carrot, a pirate, a Power Ranger.

All 22 starters finished the 25 mile ride, with Carrie Johnson and Belesema's Specialty just edging out Simone Mauhl and Boogey for the win in 2:57. Belesema's Specialty won Best Condition. Local crick rider Wonder Woman (Linda Kluge) and her Wonder Horse Ted finished 3rd. Trinity Jackson, the Dalmation Mom, brought a slew of Junior riders (6 of them!) who all finished on their mules. Beth Nicholes, no long a Junior, rode and finished on DWA Zifhaffir in his first ride. They completed with Beth's brother Terrence - substitute jockey for Helen Bonner - on DWA Emigree. Falisha Leon, yet another Junior, rode and finished on Sylvan Sovereign with her grandma Vicci Archer.

12 of 14 finished the 50 mile ride, with Dick Root and OFW Alivia, and Errol Fife and OMR Pristine smoking to the win in 5:48. This is after Dick and Ali started without a breast collar, and the saddle slipped way back going up the steep starting hill, and when Dick went to adjust the saddle, Ali went to bucking, bucked the saddle off, and Dick retrieved his horse and saddle, and ran back to camp on foot with Ali to grab a breast collar. He and Ali got back on trail and caught up with and passed our group before 9 miles was up. OFW Alivia won Best Condition. Sarah Holloway was the only Junior in the 50, riding her horse Noble Desperado with her aunt Connie Holloway on DWA Saruq. Finishing in 6th place on WMA Proclaim (Riley) was Karen Steenhof, who earned her 18,000th AERC endurance mile!

A new little endurance rider took to the trails this ride: 11-year-old Cameron Teeter, who trail rode the famous Jose Viola, with his dad Clay on Krusty, and grandpa John on Sunny.

Friday and Saturday evenings the perfectly delightful sounds of the Bluegrass group Pickett Crick Ramblers (is that our name??) could be heard pounding away into the night. As Tom Noll said, "We've improved a lot in the last 1 1/2 years!" We may not always play in time or in tune, but we have fun.

And that concluded the Owyhee endurance ride season: perfectly good friends, fun, and frivolity.

See you next season!

More photos and results can be seen at:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 Owyhee Canyonlands 3-day Pioneer

October 11 2016

It was quite the turnout for the 3-day Owyhee Canyonlands October 7-9, 2016. It's been a few years since these Owyhee desert trails have seen over 60 riders on day 1. Riders invaded from California, Washington, Montana, Oregon, and Canada for the event. Weather was almost perfect - a rare little bit of rain a few days before, and temperatures mostly in the 40's at night and mid-70's during the day. There was only one minor disaster, or great success story, depending on how you view it, on Day 1.

A Junior Fund was started at this ride (see Steph's article, "Helping our young riders get involved" in the September Endurance News magazine), to help Juniors with their ride entry fees. Since the majority of us are getting older, golder, less bolder, and starting to crest that ridge where we see many more older folks, older horses, and less miles ahead of us, and fewer younger riders filling the trail behind us, this is a way to help Juniors be able to afford continuing in, or getting started in, the sport. Who else is going to be around to boost us up on our horses 10 years from now when we can't find a mounting block, or we are too old to get out and mark trail and organize endurance rides? Barb McGann donated her free ride entry and veterinarian Robert Washington donated $200 towards the junior gang of kids and mules at this year's ride.

Evenings (well, not Day 2 because we were all tired) were filled with the glorious (?) bluegrass sounds of the Pickett Crick Ramblers (or whatever we call ourselves). The last night we were joined by special guest stars, Canadian Carol Wadey, who progressed from keeping the beat on a table to killing it on a real drum that John Teeter provided, and by singer Naomi Preston (with Carol) belting out the real words, or making some new ones up, to some tunes. The Nicholes kids, who helped cook and volunteer all weekend, provided more singing entertainment into the wee hours of the last night (like 10 PM).

47 started the 55-mile ride on Day 1, with 42 finishing. The Blakeley family from Oregon all started and finished, with dad Wasch, riding RA Ares Bey, just nipping Dick Root and OFW Alivia at the finish in a time of 4:25.

Dean Hoalst, aboard Pay Attention, finished 3rd, in 4:31. That's not unusual, because Dean likes to ride fast. What *is* unusual is that Dean rode the last 37 miles with a broken shoulder or collarbone and some broken ribs*, when his horse bucked him off and piled him onto the ground leaving the first vet check, when Dean wouldn't let him take off as fast as he wanted after the horses ahead of him. We're not sure if the punctured lung came during the buck-off, or during the 37 miles of riding.

After he finished third, and he had somebody trot his horse out for him for Best Condition, he consented to going to the small-town ER. They sent him to the hospital in Boise overnight, over his objections, I heard.

Dean's a bit tougher than I am. I accidentally kicked a table and broke a little toe a couple of days before a 2-day ride once, and I couldn't ride because my tootsie hurt.

Christoph Schork and GE Stars Aflame, and Carla Lakenbrink and Guinness, finished 4th and 5th in 4:36, followed by Sanoma and Barrak and Gabriela Blakeley in 4:50. Wasch's horse got the BC award.

20 started the 30-mile ride, with all finishing. Bill Miller and Raffons Noble Dancer won the ride in 2:57, pulsing down just a few seconds ahead of David Brown and Chipikiri. Carolyn Roberts and Manhattanincident, 5th in a time of 3:19, won Best Condition. Trinity Jackson bought her racing mules and 3 Juniors, finishing mid-pack, with Sydney Jackson and Out of Idaho the first Junior in a time of 3:23.

27 riders started Day 2's 50, with 23 finishing. It was almost a repeat of Day 1's results… minus Dean Hoalst, since he was in the hospital. Wasch Blakeley and RA Ares Bey finished first in 4:21, a few seconds ahead of Dick Root and OFW Alivia, with Christoph Schork, riding Medinah MHF, finishing in a tie for 3rd in 4:27 with Errol Fife and OMR Pristine. Medina MHF got the Best Condition award.

19 of 20 starters finished Day 2's 30-mile ride, with Jill Haunold and her Curly mare Penny's Isabelle winning in a time of 3:07, a few seconds ahead of Elayne Barclay and Merlot's Kwest. 4th place Wade Mauhl, in his first endurance ride aboard the beautiful palomino Quarter horse Sundance (his first endurance ride too), finished in a ride time of 3:10, and got Best Condition.

Day 3's 50 had 26 starters and 23 finishers. Dick Root and OFW Alivia won in a time of 4:40, 9 minutes ahead of Max Merlich and TCF Miles High. Miles won the Best Condition award. Carla Lakenbrink and Guinness finished 3rd in 4:58, with junior Sanoma, and Wasch Blakeley 4th and 5th in 5:38.

Finishing turtle - a 3-peat for all 3 days, was Lynn White and Belesemo Moon. It was Roger's and Lynn's 2nd 3-day ride finish, and Lynn got her 3000 miles.

All 19 starters finished the 25-mile ride on Day 3. David Brown and Chipikiri turned the tables on Bill Miller and Raffons Noble Dancer, in a winning time of 3:06. Chipikiri took the Best Condition award. Barb McGann, volunteer extraordinaire, had a ride day, finishing turtle aboard OSR Niks Happy Spot, in 4:59, riding with Ann Kuck and Dirty Martini.

10 horse/rider partners finished all 3 days/155 miles, with Dick Root and OFW Alivia hanging up the fastest time of 12 hours 50 minutes. Wasch Blakeley and RA Ares Bey were 2nd in 14 hrs 24 minutes. The others were Melissa Coy and SAR Tiki Copper Sky, Jerry Zebrack and BR Jo Tiki De Soi, Becky Vital and CR Dun Debut, Karen Leiman and Frankly Dash O Splash, Karen Bumgarner and Z Summer Thunder, Connie Holloway and DWA Saruq, Junior Sarah Holloway and Noble Desperado, and Lynn White and Roger, the last in at 26 hours 35 minutes.

5 horse/rider partners finished all 3 days/80 limited distances miles, with Maria Kilgo and Belesemo Geronimo fastest in 10 hours 21 minutes. Local crick rider Linda Kluge and Ted were 2nd, followed by Elayne Barclay and Merlot's Kwest, Clarissa Hale and SB Above the Law, and Pam Davenport and The Traveling Man, last in at 12 hours 52 minutes.

Thanks to all the volunteers who came to help, and thanks to the veterinarians Robert Washington and Karen Balch, and to Bill Brown, who came with his wife Linda, and rode Days 1 and 3, and helped vet on Day 2!

More photos and stuff from the ride at:

*I'm not sure what exactly Dean broke but there was definitely breakage.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016 Santiam Cascade

August 13 2016
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

It's hard to believe it was only DeWayne Brown's second time to manage an endurance ride, but so it was on August 13th at the 30-50-80-100 Santiam Cascade near Sisters, Oregon.

What was the best part? Hard to choose between:
- lush grass/hay field to camp in, and an eclectic smorgasbord for the horses including yummy alfalfa plants (made me think of wandering a CANDY SHOP and eating whatever I wanted), AND there were no bugs or dust
- a good attendance with old and new friends, including a World Endurance Champion and Hall of Famer and Haggin Cup and Tevis Cup winner (Becky Hart); another couple of Hall of Famers (Joyce Sousa and LV Integrity), a National Champion (Christoph Schork), and another Haggin Cup winner (Barrack Blakeley), and 3 Juniors in the 100, Anya Levermann, Sanoma Blakeley, (riding with Anya's mom Katrin) and Alex Neihaus (riding with grandmother Joyce Sousa)
- extraordinarily well-marked trails
- the best human drinking water idea ever invented, jugs of people water floating in the horse water troughs, which kept the water cool on a hot day
- plenty of horse (and therefore human too!) water on trail, every 5 or 6 miles
- the best water guy(s) who worked 3 or 4 days non-stop for us riders and horses
- numerous volunteers to help you out with anything you needed
- and the extraordinarily competent ride manager who seemed to be everywhere at once taking care of everything before it needed done

Sure, the trails were a bit dusty (it's volcano country, after all) and a bit rocky at places (it's volcano country, after all), and a bit warm (it's summer after all), but it's called endurance riding for a reason! And anyway, I like to say, dusty compared to what? (my Tevis ride? Oh, I think not!) Or, rocky compared to what? (Nevada rides I've done? Nope!) And summer - well, it's my least favorite season anywhere anytime, so let's just leave it at that.

And I must give a great shout out here to Lynn Rigney, my new best endurance friend. How fortunate for me that she came to ride her handsome mustang Adagio VII in the 30, and she saw how HOT FLASHING I was, even in the heat at the Friday ride meeting, and she loaned (then gave) me her Mission Enduracool neck gaiter, (which I have not taken off since), which saved me from passing out from heat during Saturday's ride. Thanks Lynn!

DeWayne's grandfather started the Santiam ride in 1964. His whole family has been a part of this ride, putting it on and riding in it over the decades. DeWayne managed it in 1993, a memorable multi-event (a 50, 75, and 100) that had 227 entries. That was a memorable event for veterinarian Dr Michael Foss, too, due to the unexpected number of entries, but while this year's ride had good attendance, it was a bit less stressful for him and DeWayne than that one!

Basecamp was at the Sisters rodeo grounds outside of Sisters, Oregon. Camp Polk was established in 1865 in the area as a military post because of the Paiute Indian wars. Turns out there really wasn't a Paiute Indian "problem" in the area, and the troops abandoned the camp within a year. Around 1870 Samuel Hindeman homesteaded there and ran the post office. In 1888 the post office was moved 3 miles southwest to the present site of Sisters.

Sisters used to be a sleepy little town until the last decade or so when it exploded into a big tourist attraction, with tourist shops, outdoor opportunities (hiking, biking, climbing, skiing), the Sisters Rodeo (held since 1941), the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt show (the world's largest outdoor quilt show and quilt sale), and the Sisters Folk Festival. Ridecamp was close enough to the main highway that we heard the busy 24-hour traffic, though Connie tried to convince me that it sounded like camping near the ocean and listening to the waves. (Didn't work the first night.)

Looming above the town, and ridecamp, are the Three Sisters, a complex single volcano of 3 volcanic peaks, all over 10,000 feet (still with a significant amount of snow on them) - North, Middle, and South Sister. USGS tells us, "The Three Sisters region has hosted volcanic eruptions for hundreds of thousands of years, and future eruptions are a certainty. South and Middle Sister are recurrently active over thousands to tens of thousands of years and may either erupt explosively or produce substantial lava domes that could collapse into pyroclastic flows. They could also produce lava flows."

How often and how many places do you get to ride around scenic, certain potential volcanoes?

Pickett Cricksters Steph and Smokey, Connie and DWA Saruq, and substitute jockey me and Dezzie made the journey from Idaho for the 50 mile ride. Connie's niece Sarah couldn't make it to this ride so I rode her horse.

What was fun about the ride was that the loops were arranged so you would meet other riders on other distances throughout the day. If you rode the 50, you could keep tabs on the 30-milers, and on the 17 100-mile riders, and it was easy to cheer them along and high five them as we passed each other. We ran into different groups at different intersections, sponging and cooling at the water troughs, like Canadians Katrin (mom) and Anya Levermann, riding the 100 with Sanoma Blakeley.

The 50's had 3 loops, of 20 miles (and a vet check in camp), 20 miles (and a vet check in camp), and a 10 mile loop back to the finish. Trails and 2-track old logging roads looped through the Ponderosa forest, with glimpses of the Three Sisters and Mt Jefferson along the way. Loops 1 and 2 tracked through the burn responsible for cancelling the ride last year.

And it was a bit dusty, with some rocks underfoot. Some riders rode like bandits, with neckerchiefs over their faces. More than one rider commented after the day's-end shower about how brown the run-off water was!

It got hot after noon, but two saving graces were a thin cloud cover and a good breeze (and splashing humans and horses at the water troughs) which kept us cool enough and moving along.

Jeff Tryens and Cimarron won the 30-mile ride in 3:24, and got Best Condition, with 26 riders finishing.

Barrack Blakeley and OMR Quicksand won the 50 mile ride in 5:44. 31 completed the 50 (around 37 started). Kristen Grace and HCC Elessar, aka "Monster", who finished second 8 minutes behind Barrak, won Best Condition.

Nobody rode the 80, probably figuring if you were going to ride that far, you might as well go another 20 miles and do the 100!

Christoph Schork and GE CCDRUS Star won the 100 in 15:56. They also won Best Condition. The 15-year-old Anglo-Arabian mare now has a record of 23 completions in 24 starts (8 of them wins), 7 Best Condition awards, and 4 out of 4 100-mile completions, including 2 Tevis Cups.

Finishing next, to their happy surprise, were Sanoma Blakeley and the Levermanns. Joyce Sousa and her granddaughter Alex finished in just over 17 hours.

That makes 39 100-mile finishes for LV Integrity (oh, and 89 for Joyce, if you're counting!). All 3 Juniors finished the 100 (Sanoma, Anya, Alex), and Anya and Alex are currently tied for first in the Junior National 100 Mile division with 405 miles.

Front runner Dick Root (riding the little pistol mare OFW Alivia, who won the Mt Adams 100 in May) succumbed to the heat in the late afternoon (Dick did, not the horse), and front runner Kevin Waters and DE Golden Ali were pulled with 1 loop to go with lameness.

Layne Lewis' Royal Immage, aka "Mickey", finished 6th, completing his first 100 mile ride. Becky Vital and CR Dun Debut finished turtle in 18:57, the mare's first 100-mile ride, and Becky's first 100-mile finish, a great accomplishment for both after a bad accident last year put them both out of commission for a while.

DeWayne says he's looking into a different ride camp for next year's Santiam with some different trails. Whether it's the Sisters Rodeo grounds or elsewhere, you can be sure that it'll be a first-class-run event. Come get your endurance on in this long-running endurance ride!

For more info and photos on the ride, see:

And for terrific ride photos from Santiam Cascade, see Jessica Wynne's gallery: