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[RC] Gator Run - Howard Bramhall

Gator Run.  Fantastic ride.  I'm sorry, I don't have the results.  I know Debbi Foti won the first day 55 miler.  I'm not sure who got BC.  I got pulled after 22 miles because of a runaway situation with America (my fault) and another rider and horse who had a similar situation going on; and it lasted, neck and neck, for an incredible length of time and distance.  Yes, for once, I was truly scared.  I'm sure some of you have had this happen.  It was a first, for me at an endurance ride, during the early part of a 22 mile first run, on a flat road to the away vet check.  Alongside a horse as crazy as yours, both of them out of control, well….., turns out we had a tie way beyond a finish line.  America hit a speed I did not know he possessed.  I don't want to see it ever again!
I'm changing bits.  I got one in the back of my tack room I used to use on Dance Line.  Poor America, I never did want to pull that thing out again.  But, alas, I choose life, and I plan on having a few more rides under my belt before I let him kill me.  I do remember telling God one evening, that, if I had to go anytime soon, that might not be a bad way to do it; but, hey, God, I was only thinking out loud.
Mike and Connie did such a fantastic job at this ride.  I was in awe of their abilities.  Great turn out.  First day over 65 riders, second day, over 50, and third in the thirties.  That's the 55 miler, and two 50's, I'm not sure about LD's but they had good numbers also. Ridecamp was filled to capacity most of the time with rigs everywhere. 
BRRRRRRRRRRRRR, was the temp on that third day.  20 degrees at the start and it didn't improve all that much.  Very cold for down here.  First day was chilly, but above freezing, second day was to die for weather wise.  My wife and I did get a completion on the third day.  We adore the T-Shirt, which is a picture of a horse biting on a Gator's tail.  I've never seen or even heard of that actually happening down here, in Gator Land, but, hey, it looks cool.
Lot's of out of staters at the Gator.  New York, Idaho (yes, Idaho), Texas, so many people I had never met before.  I finally did meet Darolyn from Texas at the away vet check the first day.  She told me what I was doing right with America's feet and what might make it better.  She knows her stuff!  I met several others at the away vet check since I got to spend most of the morning and some of the early afternoon there.  Mike wasn't taking us "pullees" back till everyone had vetted in and he and Nancy made sure they all left on their out time. I, also, got to meet Laura Hays; she was the last rider to leave.  She and I compared notes as to which one of us could claim "most scared" during the ride (she had fallen off by the photographer, I think).
Before we loaded Mike made sure everything was cleaned up.  This gave time for America and me to bond even more.  He was not tired a bit.  He got pulled for lameness, left front, never could pin it down where, but, my guess is a muscle.  No swelling in the lower legs and feet looked fine.  He walked fine, but was off in the trot. 
This is what I love about endurance.  ONe day you're up, next day you're down.  It's such a challenge, which is why we do it.  That and our quest (some of us anyway) for lost youth.