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Day 2
Images by Merri Melde

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Owyhee Fandango story by Merri Melde
Karen Bumgarner's story


2014 Owyhee Fandango

by Merri Melde

by Merri Melde

No matter the size, you've got a good crowd when some of the '-est' guys and gals show up at your endurance rides.

There's not much different about 59,000-mile Dave Rabe since his riding accident back in December of 2012 other than wearing a helmet (a good thing!) - he still wears shorts, he still rides the same couple thousand miles a season, he still rides the same white horse that might have killed him, and he's still the same nicest, Helping-est guy in camp and on the trails.

Need help marking trails? Dave will show up early and help you. Got a problem with your truck or trailer wiring? Dave will help you sort it out. Need Easyboots glued on before the ride? Dave will do it for you. Keep throwing your Easyboot Gloves on trail? Dave will stop to help you get a better fit so you can continue on your ride. Need help unmarking trail? Dave will do that too.

Much of all this in addition to bringing 3 horses to the 3-day Owyhee Fandango, riding 50 miles the first two days, and riding the 100 on Day 3.

This including riding his rogue horse White Cloud on the 100, the horse responsible for his accident, the one he still has to always be alert while riding, since White Cloud will still pull stunts if Dave is not paying complete attention. Why ride such a horse? "Because he's a good horse!"

Since his accident at the Death Valley Encounter in December of 2012, where White Cloud bolted and bucked as Dave was climbing on, once Dave started back on endurance rides (on White Cloud), the pair has completed over 1300 more AERC miles (and plenty more marking trail). The Owyhee Fandango 100 was White Cloud's 9th 100-mile completion, and 7315 AERC miles. His record shows one pull back in 2011. That's why Dave keeps riding this horse with a devilish look in his eye. Dave is now only 1615 miles short of being the High-est-mileage endurance rider ever. It might be White Cloud that gets him there.

Then there's the Busy-est guy in endurance, who also happens to be the Winning-est one: 26,000-mile Christoph Schork (as of September 2010, he had 200 wins, and I haven't sat down to count them up since then!). He'll drive into Ridecamp with 4 horses and a groom, ride Day 1's horse for exercise, start gluing on boots for riders; next day win Day 1's 50-miler, take out Day 2's horse for exercise, help more riders with boots; next day win Day 2's 50-miler, take out Day 3's horse for exercise, hold a hoof clinic; next day win Day 3's 100 miler just before dark.

Christoph did add 3 more wins to his resume at the Owyhee Fandango, winning Day 1's 50 (and getting Best Condition) on Medinah MHF, Day 2's 50 on Baloo Bit-O-Honey, and Day 3's 100 (tying with Doug Swingley on Alibanta and Dean Hoalst on Red Wing of Courage) aboard CMS OSO Elegant. Also winning Best Condition, Elegant was a handy last minute substitute for repeat National Champion Stars Aflame who tweaked a muscle the night before the ride when a hurricane-like windstorm blew threw camp, knocking things around and spooking some horses.

Attendance was low at the Fandango, but some familiar faces returned. Janet Tipton and Lady Jasmine (High-est-mileage LD horse ever, with over 4000 miles) were the only pair to ride and finish all 3 days on the Limited Distance rides (and Ladybug got Best Condition on Days 1 and 3). Karen Bumgarner (over 23,000 miles) and Z Summer Thunder (over 3500 miles), and Clare Holland and Rushcreek Quimby were the only two pairs to complete all 160 miles of endurance over the 3 days.

Scenic and historic trails carried riders through Sinker Canyon and the Joyce Ranch (established 1865), over the Oregon Trail, and along the Snake River. Weather was warm and breezy throughout the ride with the third day being the kindest to the 100-mile horses. Only 7 riders started the 100, with 5 of them finishing. Behind the 3-way tie for first were Dave Rabe on White Cloud, and Nance Worman on her tough 4000-mile Big Sky Quinn.

A small, friendly ride it was, but still one of the B-est in Idaho.