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[RC] Big Horn 100 - Kerry Greear

I just returned home from the Big Horn. What an experience!!!!! I've had people tell me the Big Horn 100 was a tougher trail than Tevis and now I know that for sure first hand. This is a very tough ride. I was pleased I had done all three days at the Strawberry Fields Forever ride June 23-5 for conditioning. It helped Hawk tremendously. My morab, Summerwood Silverhawk, not only finished 2nd; he won BC.

For Cindy Collins, the trail was marked fine. There was vandalism with moving a few flags, but I don't think it interfered much, maybe 15 minutes of ridetime. I was with Kathy Arnold when she spotted and moved the flags and the other riders who were following that trail came back immediately.

The first section of trail (we started at 4am--25s/50s/100s all together) was nicely marked. It had some climbs, lots of desert, air was warm even at that time. We went through a little spot that looks like a lunar landscape, and at that point there was a cool breeze down a canyon--heaven!!!! Anyway, we all made pretty good time on that first section and I thought the first vet check went pretty smoothly. The people who manage this ride and the volunteers work very hard to put on this ride, and it really shows.

There was a little controversy regarding hold times, but we ended up having 3 45 minute holds and the one hour hold at Antelope Butte.

The second section of trail had a lot of climbs, mostly two track and single track. It was so beautiful! The rocks, mountains, wildflowers, meadows---it was absolutely gorgeous. A rough trail like this is one my horse does very well on, so I really liked this second section that went from Hudson Falls to Horse Creek. I thought this vet check went well, too. This was the piece of trail that had the "vandalism", which certainly didn't make or break anybody's ride.

The third section of trail, from Horse Creek to Antelope Butte was also tough with steep climbs and it was starting to get pretty hot. It was also gorgeous. There was plenty of water on the trail and lots of wonderful grass for the horses. We ended this piece with a nice trot down a shady/dirt road then through a small meadow to the vet check at the bottom of the ski area. This was where the 50s ended their ride. I believe most of these riders had a good ride.

The problem came in the fourth section of trail. It seemed to be longer than 25 miles. It was an extremely tough trail, lots of steady/steep climbs in the hot sun. Where there were spots that were not so steep, there were lots of rocks and we went through a boulder field. Lack of water was an issue on this section. I let my horse grab grass frequently and we stopped several times for the horses to graze. Hawk also went through 4 apples, a gallon bag of Omolene, 4 large lyte cookies, and 2 granola bars. He was still starved. I was with two riders and two others caught up to us about 5 miles before the vet check. Fortunately two of the riders knew this trail because it was dusk and the orange flags were hard to see and too far apart for the light. We came off the mountain and had 2.5 miles of road into the vet check. It was dark by the time we got to the vet check. We were worried sick at that point in time--we were 6 in our group at that time and there was one rider in front of us---that left alot of riders in the dark trying to see those flags. I think two people spent the night on the mountain.

The last section of trail was 20 miles in the dark. It was mainly downhill with sections of very slick rock and quite a few gates to open. At this point in time, Cindy Wagner who was riding her first 100, and me on my second, were in 2nd and 3rd place. The first rider had left about 50 minutes before us. We didn't know the trail and the glowsticks/flashers were pretty far apart. But it was a road and the turns were well marked. We only had one point that we questioned if we were on the trail. Hawk was a good leader all day, and when he figured out where camp was, he flew whenever he could. We finished 3 minutes behind the first place finisher. I commend her for a smart ride. The last two gates I opened, I dreaded climbing back on my horse--I have never been so physically tired.

Several riders finished the ride but were overtime. Many of them are very experienced riders; I hope to hear thoughts from them. Some very experienced riders pulled on that 4th section of trail. So, only 8 out of 24 100s finished, and the two who elevated from 50 to 100 both pulled. The 4th section of trail took us almost 2 hours more than anybody had figured----so crews were very worried.

Cindy and I were thrilled to come in at 2:15 to a cheering, though small, crowd. They were so excited for us and proud of us.

All in all, I have a couple of concerns but absolutely no complaints about this ride. I decided to do endurance rides because they are challenging, and this one was the most challenging one I've ever tackled. I'm thrilled that Hawk still has his 100% completion record and 3 100s. My friend, Cindy, asked me to help her and I'm tickled silly that she did so well on her husband's thoroughbred mare, who had never done a 100 either. People thought I was silly to tackle Tevis as my first 100---HA, HA, Cindy is sillier than I am!

Ride management is sincere and dedicated, and I will go back to this ride. It does help that my BC prize is an entry!!!! I love my Big Horn sterling buckle. Anyone who finished the whole 100 miles, even if they didn't get a completion, should be very proud of themselves and their horse. I was so tired after, I drank l/2 beer and fell asleep when I was trying to get my socks off. Thank God for my wonderful family/crew. They took great care of me and Hawk and we could not have done this without them. I also think the vets at this ride were really good; it helps so much when the vets want you to complete. It's all about attitude. So, who will take the challenge next year??????

There was a true tragedy at this ride. Maureen Jewell's beautiful horse, who placed 5th in the 50 and she was preparing for Tevis died today. Our group in camp was heartsick. There will be many more rides with many more problems---but there was only one Andy.


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