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Big Horn 100 - Shell, Wyoming

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2006 Steph's Story || 2006 Joyce Anderson's Story || 2006 Dr Dave Brown's Story || 2003 Tom Noll's Story

2010 Stories:
Bighorn Stories - Cindy Collins || Bighorn: The Most Unpredictable Ride of Them All - Kevin Myers
Bighorn Crew Story - Carrie Thornburn || Ronnie's Report,Big Horn 100, 2010 - Ronnie Eden
An Outlaw Rides the Big Horn Trail - Tom Noll & Frank || Big Horn 100 2010-And Beyond - by Lucky 6 Nellie(with help from Marirose)
Another Big Horn Crew Perspective - Dan Ward
Darlene & Lumpy do the Big Horn 100, 2010. Our Epic Adventure, Part I - Darlene Anderson
Darlene & Lumpy do Big Horn 2010, our Epic Adventure, part II - Darlene Anderson
Darlene & Lumpy do Big Horn 2010, our Epic Adventure, part III - Darlene Anderson
Darlene & Lumpy do Big Horn 2010, our Epic Adventure, part III, the Final Installment! - Darlene Anderson

2010 Big Horn 100

Monday July 12: Message from ride management:

Just for the record. Severe weather is the reason for the 15 miles. Several severe thunderstoms went through all afternoon changing an already difficult moutain road into a slick mud puddle that was impassable to trailers. We have to go up a 20 miles dirt road to each the last vet stop and we try to put out the flashers in the late afternoon so they will be as bright as possible.

Jeanette left Antelope Butte at 3pm to get the flashers out by 6. However when she tried to take the trailer with the four-wheelers up the road to mark the trail, the trailer went off a cliff and was resting against a tree holding on only by the truck which was going up a muddy hill. A wrecker was called and it took three hours for one to show up. We tried to get the four-wheelers out but they had slid to the side and there was nothing but sky between the trailer and the road.

The flashers were sent up the hill and Wally tried to mark the trail in his pick-up. He went just a little ways and got stuck so he went to the bottom of the mountain and tried to flash up the mountain and got stuck again. So the flahsers were given to Dave Anderson and he flashed the low lands. Thank you Dave!! Just as darkness fell.

The lead riders were given flags and asked to mark the trail. THANK YOU LIBBY AND MARIROSE!!! They dropped flags all the way down the moutain! Way to come through in a tight situation. My thanks also to Tom Knoll and Dave Rabe for bringing riders down with them. You are heros in my book! Thank you for your generosity. Jeanette was on a four-wheeler all night long bringing riders in and driving up and down the trail and my Dad driving the trail in his pick-up.

We did everything we possibly could in severe weather to make this a perfect ride! Jeanette is just heart-broken and feels so down. She has been living on four hours of sleep for the last week, getting ready for this ride. She even said last night that this is our last Big Horn 100. It would be sad to see this ride go away because of bad weather and a few whiney riders.

My heart goes out to anyone that didn't have a perfect experience and I hope you remember there was so much good that happened. The first 75 miles were incredible, the scenery was breathe-taking, the mountain lakes stunning, the banquet, the hamburgers in the mountains, the new trail, the memories you have, the stories you can tell, the road into Jack Creek, the mountain vistas, the wild flowers, or the friends you made. These are what is truly important and I hope we remember that.

The Most Unpredictable Ride of Them All - Kevin Myers

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you remember what you were doing in 1970? It was the year the Neel Glass invented the first Easyboot. In Shell, Wyoming, a group of hardcore endurance riders decided to put on a 100-mile race of epic proportions. The event would take the riders from the hot, arid badlands just outside town up into the high mountain pastures filled with wildflowers and wildlife that only a handful of people get to see in a year.

Forty years later, the event is still taking place. Big Horn is the grande dame of endurance rides, now the longest continually running 100-mile race in North America.

What better year to attend? 32 riders took on the good fight this year: their opportunity to stand face to face in front of destiny in the most unpredictable of settings. Big Horn is one of those races that just keeps you guessing from start until the horse steps his hind legs across the finish line.

The ride meeting was held at the community center in town, ten minutes’ drive from basecamp. A local band was playing on the stage when we walked in and a long snake of tables would soon be host to hungry riders and crew. At almost 8 PM, Jeanette Tolman stood in front of the restless crowd to walk us through the trail that lay in wait.

It was past 10 PM when we got to bed, and the 2:30 AM wake-up call came quickly. The 50 and 100-mile riders all started together at 4 AM. 43 riders milled around the start line for the roll call, and soon enough we were out on our controlled start for a mile along a dirt road before we were set free on a two-track road across the badlands towards the great Big Horn mountain range. The pace at the front of the pack was consistent and riders and horses were all speechless with anticipation of what lay ahead. It was thrilling.


Bighorn Stories, part 1 - Cindy Collins

Kevin nailed it perfectly with "epic." First, I was too exhausted and then too busy to write with some home/work obligations and I've decided this may have to come in pieces and parts. Perhaps others will fill in parts I leave off or can't recall. I am a much better oral story teller than writer, so hopefully those of you more gifted with the printed word will also fill in.

I am, of course, heart-broken that I did not finish the ride. But, I have so much gratitude that not finishing the ride seems almost embarrassing to mention. There are several heroes in my story and I want to repeat their names several times in my tale...Ronnie Eden, Walt Benhardus, and Tim French. IF you ever need help, I hope you are surrounded by folks half as fine as those three are. A big thank you, also, to the Haeberle family of Laramie. They'll be in my story, too. Ronnie sacrificed her completion of the ride staying with me, taking over my horse, and trying to get us help. She spent a lonely, wet, cold night on the mountain babysitting her horse and mine. I can't imagine how frightening that must have been. They just don't make many people like that in our world and if you ever get to meet her, I hope you will tell her how special she really is! Then, there is Walt. He didn't know me from "Adam." We'd never met before when he chose to stay by my side and lead me on foot down Black Mt Rd. It was a Herculean effort. Wish I could tell you why I got sooo sick. I'm infamous for my normal vertigo in the dark coming off that mountain. My normal pattern is to puke once, then I'm fine and go on to finish. That didn't happen this time. Don't know if it's because I'm older, or because I got soaked several times and was chilled to the bones (yes, I had two raincoats and they were both soaked through by the third rain storm), or because I was so stressed knowing that the horses were slipping and sliding all over the trail in the down pour and each step felt like they might injure themselves permanently or because I was so stressed thinking about all of the people lost in the cold rain and mud on the mountain...who can know...what I can tell you is that I have never been that sick in my life. Someone who was there said I vomited at least nine times. I couldn't ride, couldn't walk, was shivering so hard that my teeth rattled and Ronnie and Walt kept holding me in a bear hug on either side trying to warm me and keep me from shock. Ronnie gave me her wonderful Aussie raincoat and when I think of her alone on that mountain trying to sleep in a huddle without her coat, it just brings me to my knees.

Mother nature certainly caused 99% of the problems on the ride, if not all. In the 30 years I've been on that trail, I've never seen rain like that during the ride. Snow, yes, but not rain. Ride manager, Jeanette Tolman, was heading from Ranger Creek to Jack Creek to put out the night markings for the trail during one of the down pours. She was hauling her four wheeler in her horse trailer when her truck and trailer slid off the road and her trailer with the four wheeler was left hanging off a cliff. Hopefully, Dr. Haeberle will post his photo of the rig. So, that's the short version of why there were NO markings on the trail off the mountain when we riders took off down it in the rain. Of course, I didn't know any of that at the time. Since everyone knows how prejudiced I am about this ride, I'll ask others to comment on the ride markings before this point. To me, they were perfection. I'd say it was the best marking ever on the trail up to the Jack Creek stop.

I am going to take a break in my story right now because really, truly I am starting to cry and need to compose myself before I continue with part 2. Cindy

Sunday 1:30 PM update:
From Cindy Collins:
Too exhausted to share all the details, but here are the finishers, in order I think, for the 40th anniversary BH 100 mile ride. 32 started, 18 completed:

Andy Bowen
Libby Llop-BC
Darlene Anderson
Max Merlich
Tani Bates
Clydea Hastie
Ona Lawrence
Tom Noll
Kevin Myers
Rusty Toth
Lois Fox
Dave Rabe
Kerry Redente
Scott Sansom
Callie Berman
Joe Haeberle-Jr.
Pat Murray
Layne Simmons
Mary Burgess
Dorothy Sue Phillips

Sadly, I did not finish AGAIN this year :((( I had lots of company, though. I'll write more after I sleep a little. I have several special people to give a public thanks to, also, in my follow-up. Cindy

Sunday noon update:
From Easyboot:
First place tie for Andy Bown and Libby Llop, both in Easyboot Glue- Ons. Clydea Hastie (5th place); Kevin Myers (9th Place); Rusty Toth (10th Place) - all in Easyboot Glue-Ons. 32 starters in the 100: a new record.

Sunday noon update:
From Rusty Toth:
We finished 9th and 10th place at 2am. Everything you have ever heard about BH good and bad all happened here this weekend. Very proud of our horses! Tons of stories.

Sunday 10:30 AM update:
From Darlene Anderson: Lumpy & Junior finished the Big Horn 100 ride! Tied for 3rd place. 32 started, 15 finished. :))))
The weather had its moments.
100% completion rate for NW horses!

Sunday 11:00 AM update:
From Dawn Carrie: Tammy Powell completed the 55, but the Fants and Katrina Mosshammer had bad luck in the 100 and didn't complete. :(

Big Horn 100 Celebrates 40 Years!!!!!!! 2010 is a land-mark year for the Big Horn 100 Mile Ride held in Shell, Wyoming. It will mark its 40th year on July 10. Traditionally, the ride starts in Shell at 4:00 A.M. and ends at the same site at 4:00 A.M. 24 hours later. The 40th Big Horn 100 will start and finish at Mel Picht's. This point to point ride boasts the designation of being the 1st 100 mile ride to be sanctioned by the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) and has hosted riders from all over the United States, Canada and Australia. Last year's winner was Kerry Redente from Colorado.

The trail covers BLM, private and US Forest Service managed lands in one large circle and ranges in elevation from 5000 to over 9000 feet covered on two track roads and mountain trails All horses are monitored closely by veterinarians during the ride. The head vet is Dr. Lyle Bischoff of Powell and he will be ably assisted by Dr Irina Weese and Dr. Allen Gotfredson of Greybull. Each horse must meet criteria of pulse, respiration and soundness as well as hydration and over-all well being before being allowed to exit a vet check and continue on. At the end of the 100 miles, the horse judged to be the most able to continue will be given the prestigious Best Condition Award.

Big Horn 100 map 2010

Cindy Collins - July 8

Well, I know Tevis gets the glory and attention this time of year, and it's well deserved, but the 40th anniversary of the BigHorn 100 mile ride in Shell, Wyoming is this Saturday, July 10th. Looks like we will have a very good turn-out with folks arriving from all around the country. My long-suffering husband spent last Saturday and Sunday hauling a chain saw into some single track trail in the canyons to clear out a big blowdown of timber that completely blocked the trail with no way around it. I know the Tolman family spent their 4th of July clearing some new trail past Ranger Creek. We had snow, rain and freezing temps on the mountain Tuesday, but the weather for the ride should be perfect. The high temps in Shell (basecamp) are supposed to be in the high 80s for the weekend. The highs on top of the mountain this weekend should be 65-70 degrees.

As always, you will never find a harder working (or smaller) group of ride managers/volunteers trying their best to make your 100 mile experience, on one of the most beautiful trails in the USA, a success. Good luck to all riders! I'll be trying for my 8th buckle after an eight year drought! See ya there, Cindy

2006 Big Horn Photos

Max Merlich's Photos
Ride Gallery
Trail Gallery

Steph's Big Horn Ride Story - 2006

Part I

There are rides, and then there are RIDES. The Big Horn 2006 was a RIDE. It was also a 'wake up' for me. I had the incredible good fortune of riding a really great horse (Paladin) on an Endurance trail that has no equal, in the company of a true horsewoman (Bev Gray) and under the care and guidance of a first class crew (Bill Gray). My job was easy, and I really can't take much personal credit for our completion. All I had to do was make no mistakes. The horse (the years of training and natural ability) did the work. Bev knew how to pace the ride and we got off to a perfect start (she and Paladin took first and BC at this ride several years ago). We had the good fortune of riding the first 50 miles with Kathy Arnold, another great horsewoman as well as AERC HOF. Kathy lives near the Bighorn, has ridden it numerous times, and just knows how to 'get it done' - as well as how to breed and train great horses. Plus she knows the trail! And Bill and Ted were awesome crew. Bill is calm, organized, supportive, and knows the routine. He and Bev and Paladin (and AA Omner, and AA Bravo) have succesfully conquered most of the challenges Endurance riding has presented.

This ride 'lit my fire' again... riding a fast forward horse on a challenging trail, spending 13 hours alone, in the mountains, through the dark hours of the night, tired, worried and focused on the horse's well being, focused on staying on course, on just getting it done. For some this might have been too much, for me - it was just what I needed! Maybe it's been too many years of futzing around with FEI, the stress and politics... but the past couple years I'd sort of lost the spirit, or at least the sizzle. But I think it's back now.

The ride story -. I met Bev and Bill and Ted in Thermopolis, Wyoming. I took the freeway east until Pocatello, and then hit the back roads. Driving my parents' 1984 Oldsmobile Touring Sedan - great old car with leather seats and push button tilt controls...


Big Horn 2006 - Joyce Anderson

I started the Big Horn this year, aiming for my 7th BH 100 mile buckle, on an outstanding young mare Kathy Arnold had found for me in Pinedale, WY. I had planned for a steady pace on trails I know well, except for the new section around Adelaide, which was only a few miles. My friends Nancy Smart & Joe Selden from Maryland, came out to crew for me again, and it is such a luxury that they are both advisors and support team - they are the NASCAR crew for horses - and I thank them (again) from the bottom of my heart for trekking to Wyoming for another adventure. They were also incredible mentors to my friends Cherie and Mike Borer, from Larkspur, Colorado who were tackling their 1st 50 mile ride at the Big Horn! Cherie and her horse ‘Mr. Bigglesworth - aka Jake’ had a fabulous ride and finished the 50 in Top 10 looking like a million bucks. Mike decided to pull his walker ‘Nick’ at Hudson falls as the pace and heat this year might be too much; but they had a great time showing how a walking horse could zoon across the desert two tracks into Hudson Falls...


Paula and Lucky, the NOT Lost Riders - Dr Dave Brown

Steph, It has already arrived back in WV that Paula and Lucky were lost and therefore did not finish the Big Horn 100. You need to get the entire endurance community straight and educated from this experience. Paula is wilderness survival and horse management trained. When no more trail markers were evident after midnight on the loop that she started at 6 PM and was told by management was only 7 miles, she ABSOLUTELY did the right thing andSTOPPED, judging that they had gone at least 12 miles to that time!! She then carefully retraced the few trail markers partway down a big mountain into dense woods that provided some protection from the elements. An hr later Lucky came walking up to where Paula had made “camp” with saddle pads for sleeping and the cover for blanket. Since Lucky’s horse had gone down 4 times with cholic she had kept walking and by the time they met up after 2 am the horse was eating and drinking well again...


An Outlaw Rides the Big Horn Trail - Tom Noll

One Hundred Miles is the signature distance of endurance riding and to me there is magic in the 100 mile distance that is different from any other ride.

Frank (my horse) and I are relative newcomers to endurance riding. Frank is an unregistered Arabian horse from Basin Wyoming. There are rumors about Frank's heritage, but Frank's past remains unknown. Kathy and Bud Arnold acquired him from friends and sold him to me when I needed a solid and honest horse to teach me about riding and endurance. I have trained Frank based on the knowledge of others and the experience that I gained from endurance running. Frank and I have trained on the same trails. Frank has taught me about horses and riding and I certainly doubt that I'll ever be able to give Frank enough in return.

Frank and I live in SW Idaho and earlier in the year I was honored when asked to join a local PNER endurance team called the "Outlaws." Frank is an outlaw horse. Butch Cassidy reportedly placed caches of especially strong horses with sympathizers and personal friends throughout the mountain west to be used for his escapes. Today we ride the decedents of those outlaw horses.