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National Championship Ride

I just returned from the National Championship ride. I didn't think that overall the trail was overwhelming difficult. Yes, 10 miles or so was difficult but the other 40 miles was not near the difficulty as the Mt. Charleston Challenge in Nevada for an example. All the riders were forewarned at the ride meeting that the 3rd loop was rocky and steep, it was that. Personally I enjoyed the challenge. No way on this ride to get lost. The trail was marked better than any ride I have ever been on, if a rider missed the trail it certainly wasn't ride managements fault.
Hay at the vet checks wasn't necessary, there was plenty of grass for the horses to eat and I believe that only one rider was crewless. Lots of water on the trail and in camp. If the water in camp was tainted I wasn't able to detect it. I put small amounts of vinegar in my horses water at home and take vinegar with me to rides to add to camp water and have never had a problem with my horses drinking strange water.
I did buy five T-shirt for my self, daughter, and my crew. $15 for a nice shirt is a bargain on today's market. Besides that the money went to support AERC. I never considered it a big deal. The completion mugs are very nice, I was happy as hell to get one and I thought that giving all the riders that didn't complete the ride was a class act. I like going to rides for the completion not necessary the completion award. For the Champions and Best Conditioned horses the sponsors awarded them with very nice coolers. There will also be awards at the AERC convention for some riders. What more could people ask for?
The food, yes the food, was great. Chuckwagon dinners every evening prepared by people who take it seriously. By far the best scalloped potatoes I ever eaten. Seven bucks, no tax, no gratuity, for a great meal is tough to beat. Compliments to the chef. They were complimented personally on a couple of occasions. (Always helps when you'd like a few more scalloped potatoes.)
I would like to thank Randy, the vets and all the volunteers for making the week that I spent in ridecamp very enjoyable. It must have been a tremendous amount of work for all of them. 
Also congratulation the all of the CHAMPIONS. Ceci Butler, Jody Welch, Kevin Waters, Dave Kaden and Tessa McAfee in the 50.
Dave Cootware, Jerry Fruth, Brittany Dial, Karen Binns-Dicmillo and Cara Eigenaur in the 100. They all certainly deserve it.

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