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2008 Fandango
2009 Fandango
2010 Fandango - photos, stories & results

photos from previous years:

2008 Fandango
Images by Caroll Gatelier

Exploring Alder Creek trail
Images by Steph
Home || Results || Camp Info & Schedule of Events || Maps & Trail Description || Directions & Weather || Contact

Merri's Stories:
Snake River Trail Magic || The Fandango Flagging Begins || All That Work
The Owyhee Fandango: It's On! || Horny Jackass! || Batten Down the Hatches
A Sad Little Ridecamp|| Owyhee Fandango Day I: Solo Ride
Owyhee Fandango Day II: Substitute Jockey! Part I
Owyhee Fandango Day II: Substitute Jockey! Part II
Owyhee Fandango Day III: Fly
A Happy Little Ridecamp



Photos by Merri Melde

Scouting Trail along the Snake River

Flagging Upper Hart Creek

Flagging along the Snake River

Day 1 Loop 1

Day 1 Loop 2

Day 1 Loop 3

Day 2 Loop 1

Day 2 Loop 2

Day 3 Loop 1

Day 3 Loop 2

Day 3 Petroglyphs & Loop 3

A Happy Little Ridecamp

Saturday June 4 2011

Due mainly to the ill-timed EHV-1 outbreak, and due somewhat to high gas prices and to some of our regulars being gone on the XP ride, the 3-day Owyhee Fandango was small affair this year.

But it was still a family affair. "It's like coming home to your Family," Joyce Sousa said. "It's so relaxed here, people are nice, the trails are great - that's why we keep coming back."

Endurance riding is indeed a family affair for the Sousas: Joyce and LV Integrity, and her daughter Jennifer riding MC Gallantly finished second and first on the 100 miler. It was Joyce and "Ritzy"'s 5th year to come here. Joyce says that coming here is their vacation. Ritzy also won Best Condition - not bad for a 17-year-old gelding with 6840 miles and 28 hundred-mile finishes (!) to his credit. Not bad for Joyce either, who has over 20,000 miles. 'Gallo' has 5245 miles and 12 100's to his name, and Jennifer has over 8800 miles. Joyce's husband, and Jennifer's father, Dennis is the regular Super Crew for them...


Owyhee Fandango Day 3: Fly

Sunday May 29 2011

70% chance of showers, and yet there is not a cloud in the blue sky, as we saddle up again for an 8 AM start - Jose and me and The Raven, for Day 3 of the Owyhee Fandango, 60 miles, to the Petroglyphs by the Snake River and back.

The wind is chilly and brisk as an autumn day as we head out to the northeast, with John and Rushcreek Mac, and Ben and Batman in our wake. Clouds have already blown over some of the Owhyee mountain peaks, but the lighting is brilliant, making the blue sky brighter and the Owyhee mountains darker and the wildflowers vibrant. It is great to be alive today and riding Jose on another endurance ride in the Wild West. Jose feels as fresh as he did when I saddled him yesterday morning.

We cross the highway where the radio guys and gals take our numbers, and we continue on toward the Snake River. A sheet of tiny golden flowers covers the lower reaches of the Badlandic striated hills that overlook the Oregon Trail. We turn with the wind and follow the old trail, our hoofsteps blending with those of horses and mules from 150 years ago...


Owyhee Fandango Day 2: Substitute Jockey! - Part II

Saturday May 28 2011

Part II

We're off to the northeast across the highway for the 25-mile Loop 1, on one of my favorite trails through the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. We won't go all the way to the river, but this trail is quite scenic anyway. We have a couple of trails around here that we call "Badlands" because they are our Owyhee version of the Badlands of South Dakota.

We plug Batman, with 12-year-old Junior Ben riding, right behind me and Jose. John and Rushcreek Mac are next, followed by Laurel, riding her horse Bluffdale Delight. Laurel and Bluffdale can use an escort, because it's Bluffdale's first 50, and as she is off the racetrack, she thinks she's going to arrive at the racetrack... for 50 miles she thinks this, dancing on her toes any time we stop moving.

We have a good chance of showers today (no thunderstorms forecast! yay!), but while it's cool enough to wear three layers, it's looking like a pretty great spring morning to be out riding...


Owyhee Fandango Day 2: Substitute Jockey! - Part I

Saturday May 28 2011

Part I

It's never a good idea to give me instructions before I'm fully awake or had my morning coffee.

When I went to bed the night before, the plan was: I'd help with Day 2 of the Owyhee Fandango; Steph would ride Batman, John would ride Mac; and junior rider Ben from Utah would ride Jose on the 50, because the horse that Bev Gray brought for him to ride on Days 2 and 3 tied up slightly on Day 1. I would help get the horses ready, since Ben isn't familiar with Jose's tack or hoof boots, and so Steph could get the 50 milers started.

Some time around 5 AM or so, Steph knocked on my door and chirped cheerfully (on several cups of coffee) "Did you get my email?" "Mrpfh" "Great! I'm taking Krusty out with Linda on Ted to check ribbons and open gates for Ada this morning. And blah blah blahblahblah" "OK mrpfh"

And I went back to sleep. Almost...


Owyhee Fandango Day 1: Solo Ride

Friday May 27 2011

Loop 1: 12 miles to the south across Hart Creek, to the Vet Check on Brown's Creek. Finneas and I start last of the 22 50-milers. He gets too competitive if he's got other horses in his sights, and since this is his first 50 of the year, I don't want him going fast and I don't want to fight with him. (Finneas is Connie's horse, but she isn't here to ride him because the poor gal had to go on a cruise up to Alaska. So she had me ride him.)

It's a cool, overcast day, just to our liking, with a good chance of showers in the forecast. We keep up a steady trot much of the way; the only thing that slows us down is the abundance of grass along the trail, which would be a sin for Finneas to pass up.

It's cool and breezy at the vet check, so our first hold is only 15 minutes. Then Finneas and I head out for the 25-mile Loop 2, going backwards. Steph and Rhett are riding up front in the correct direction to make sure the ribbons haven't been eaten by cows; and by riding this loop backwards, Finneas and I will check the Rock Corral trail I marked on foot, well before the riders going the correct way get there. That's where we are most afraid cows have sabotaged the trail markings.


A Sad Little Ridecamp

Thursday May 26 2011

By early afternoon, the day before Day 1 of the Owyhee Fandango, it was a sad-looking little Ridecamp. Most years the front parking area is overflowing and the back area parking is full, all the way back into the Hermits and Perverts section in the brush.

This year only a few rigs are sprinkled around. Plenty of space for anyone who might feel crowded and need their space.

However, by the time head vet Robert Washington arrived to start vetting horses in at 6 PM, things were looking better. Especially around the wine and cheese party sponsored by Vettec...