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2013 AERCNC - City of Rocks AERCNC
Images by Merri Melde
Championship Ride photos by Steve Bradley

50 and 100 Mile Championship Results

2016 AERC National Championships

Sept 8 - 50 Mile Championship
Sept 9 - 25 Mile Ride
Sept 10 - 100 Mile Championship Ride

2016 AERC National Championships in Utah: Riding With Buffalo - Part 3 (the 100)

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.

Just 17 starters in the AERC National Championship 100 on September 10, but it was a strong, competitive group. Riders left on the trail at 5 AM, dark.

Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal ("Atlas") led the way out, and yes, it was quite dark. "I couldn't see anything!" Suzy said later. "Like my husband says, 'It was darker than the inside of a cow!' I just had to trust Atlas and let him go." Just four miles out, she found herself splitting a herd of buffalo, but Atlas just carried on.

An expectant group gathered at the out vet check at the White Rock Bay parking lot: vets (head vet Olin Balch, Karen Balch, Greg Fellers, and Jared Christensen), vet students, who would be taking pulses and getting a taste of vetting at an endurance ride, crews, and friends of crews.

Out to watch and participate for the weekend was Robert Bouttier of Drinkers of the Wind Arabians, sponsor of the 50 and 100 Mile Championship winners and Best Condition, with custom blankets. Robert enjoyed jumping in to help Christoph at the vet checks; Christoph has partnered in the past on several successful horses bred by DWA Arabians.

Anya and Monk
It was a treat seeing Junior Anya Levermann's father, Peter, present at this ride. He was giving his wife Katrin a break for the weekend. Peter and Anya drove down from BC (Canada) in their car, taking two days to get here. Anya was riding Chris Martin's Monk, whom she rode to a 5th place in the Sunriver Classic 105 in June. I like to call the Levermanns endurance jet setters, as this year, Anya and, often, her mom, are traveling all over the country doing 100 mile endurance rides together, including the Titanium Run, Big Horn and Santiam Cascade. Anya is, in fact, tied with fellow Junior rider Alex Neihaus for the Junior National 100 mile award - both were at 405 miles before the National Championship. Alex was also riding this AERCNC 100 on her horse Airborne, with her grandmother Joyce and Joyce's newly minted Hall of Fame gelding, LV Integrity.
Alex and Airborne

The first riders began arriving into the first pulse-down-trot-and-go vet check at 14 miles in just under 1 1/2 hours. It's a flat, nice, rockless stretch that horses can move out on.

The leading riders into this first check were a hint as to how the finish would ultimately turn out late in the evening. Dean Hoalst (Pay Attention) and Melissa Ribley (Ever Ready) were the first to arrive, with Suzy Hayes close behind. Dean and Suzy pulsed down first ahead of Melissa. Just after them were Leah Cain (OT Dyamonte Santo), Pam Bailie (Bailie Skrit Ablane) and her sponsoree, Anya Levermann (Monk). After a gap of 9 minutes, Ann Hall (HCC Zara RR) pulsed down, followed by "the two Jennies," Jenni Smith (M Dash Stella) and Jennifer Waitte (M Dash Czoe), aboard Waitte's two homebred mares...

Read more here:

2016 AERC National Championships in Utah: Riding With Buffalo - Part 2

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Part 1 is here.

Start for the AERC National Championship 50 on September 8 was at 7 AM, just before sunrise. Dudley and I left the trailer and Saruq and Dezzie, looking for our riding partners, Simone Mauhl and Boogey. Fortunately Dudley doesn't mind leaving his stablemates; he's happy to go out with just about anybody.

Simone and I rode around ridecamp waiting for the other 19 riders on the 50 to get going down the trail. We timed it just right so the rest of the field was past the ranch and around the corner on the single track trail as we started out - it was like we were going out for our own fun trail ride by ourselves along the lakeshore of this beautiful island!

With buffalo! We saw our first herd just a mile or two out of camp. Neither horse paid any mind to them (the herd was 50 yards away); the two just trotted purposefully down the trail. Loop 1 (14 miles) took us straight north along the eastern edge of Antelope Island for some 12 miles, before we turned in toward the White Rock camping area on White Rock Bay.

As the sun rose above the eastern Wasatch range in the pleasantly cool morning, it threw our long shadows across the buffalo grass toward the mountain spine of the island...

Read more at:

2016 AERC National Championships in Utah: Riding With Buffalo - Part 1

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

"Welcome to Antelope Island State Park and the 2016 AERC National Championships," said ride manager Jeff Stuart. "If you're here, congratulations. It's a privilege for you and your horse to be in this ride. It means you are both healthy and fit, and you met qualifications to be here."

The Antelope Island endurance ride was started in 1994 by Dean and MJ Jackson. The ride has been handed down through the years to different managers; Jeff Stuart took over the reins from his aunt Shirley Brown 3 years ago. Assistant Ride Manager Tonya Stroud has been part of the event for over 10 years; they are all rightfully proud of their unique multi-day ride on this 14 square mile piece of land sticking up out of the Great Salt Lake (you could actually call the island a peninsula now, because of the low water level), with challenging and scenic trails, and views and herds of buffalo to ride amongst. There are also herds of deer, antelope, and big horn sheep. Antelope Island ride management felt this would be the perfect venue for the AERC National Championships, which roam between the regions every year.

Basecamp was in a fenced-in field beside the Fielding Garr ranch on the southeast end of the island. Native Americans were, of course, the first dwellers on this island; in more recent history, Mormon pioneers arrived in the 1840's. The island was used as a cattle and sheep ranch, established in 1848. The island changed hands over the decades, and the State of Utah bought the northern half of the island in 1969, and the rest of it in 1981, when it was established as a State Park. Our ridecamp was right by the original ranch buildings, which include the adobe ranch house, silo, bunkhouse, stables, springhome, and blacksmith shop, but I never had one whit of extra time to even think about it, much less visit anything. In fact, I brought my banjo to plunk in the evenings with any willing musicians, but I was so busy I didn't even remember that I brought it!...

Read more at:

RIDE UPDATES: 100 Mile AERC Championship update

BEST CONDITION: Leah Cain and OT Dyamente Santo!
HIGH VET SCORE: Melissa Ribley and Ever Ready
National Championship 100

official now

1st Leah Cain and OT Dyamente Santo
 a minute or so ahead of
2nd Pam Bailie and Bailie Skrit Ablane with
3rd Anya Levermann and Monk
4th Suzy Hayes and Greenbriar Al Jabal finished 4th about 5 minutes behind them.
5th Ann Hall and HCC Zara RR
6th Jennifer Waitte and M Dash Czoe
7th Melissa Ribley and Ever Ready
8th Christoph Schork and GE Pistol Annie
9th Alison Farrin and Shalimar Yukon
10th Kevin Waters and Belesem Impresario
11th Alex Neihaus and Airborne
12th Joyce Sousa and LV Integrity
13th Kecia Smette and LC Tripleplay
14th Robert Ribley and Regret

Leah left last VC at 14ish miles at 5:18,
Pam secnd at 5:19
Anya third at 5:20 (they are together)
Suzy hayes at 5:25.

At the 50 mile check
Dean Hoalst pulled rider option
Kathy Backus pulled lame

AERCNC 100 mile ride - all riders at 50 miles

into 50 mile vet check back at camp
Leah Cain at 10:52
Pam Bailie at 10:52
Suzy Hayes at 10:55
Melissa Ribley at 10:56
Anya Levermann at 10:56
Dean Hoalst at 10:57
7th Ann Hall 11:53
8th Jennifer Waitte 1155
9th Christoph Schork 12:01
10th Kevin Waters 12:02
11th Alison Farrin in 12:02
12th Alex Niehaus
13th Joyce Sousa
14th Kathy Backus
15th Kecia Smette
16th Robert Ribley

Dean Hoalst (6th) opted to wait longer at the vet check, so he didn't go out in 6th

horses have a loooong rocky climb to ridge of island, then back down,
then long
climb and back down, 15 miles to next vet check. And it's getting warm.

Into first vet check at 28 miles (they had a pulse down and go at 14 miles)
Dean Hoalst  at 8:02
Suzy Hayes at 8:03
Leah Cain at 8:04
Pam Bailie at 8:05
Anya Levermann at 8:05
Melissa Ribley at 8:05
gap then
Ann Hall at 8:33
Jennifer Waitte at 8:36
Jenny Smith at 8:36 - she was a pull for lameness
Christoph Schork at 8:45
Kevin Waters at 8:45
Alison Farin at 8:46
Alex Neihaus at 9:31
Joyce at 9:31
Robert Ribley arrived when we came back to camp
Kecia Smette
Kathy Backus

100 mile AERCNC Entries
Alex Neihaus on Airborne
Anya Levermann on Monk

Alison Farrin on Shalimar Yukon
Melissa Ribley won Ever Ready
Jenni Smith on M Dash Stella
Jennifer Waitte on M Dash Czoe

Leah Cain no OT Dyamente Santo
Pam Bailie on Bailie Skrit Ablane
Kathy Backus on Dynazel
Suzy Hayes on Greenbriar Al Jabal
Ann Hall on HCC Zara RR
Dean Hoalst on Pay Attention
Kecia Smette on LC Tripleplay
Joyce Sousa on LV Integrity

Christoph Schork on GE Pistol Annie

Robert Ribley on Regret
Kevin Waters on Belesemo Impresario

Merri Melde photos


Thursday - 50 mi Championship


Saturday - 100 mi Championship

Jill Haunold and Solara SS Win 2016 AERC National Championship 50

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
September 8 2016

Jill Haunold of Boise, Idaho, won the AERC National Championship 50 mile ride Thursday at Antelope Island State Park in Utah. Riding Solara SS, the pair finished in a ride time of 4:43. Finishing second 13 minutes behind her was Christoph Schork of Moab, Utah, riding Medinah MHF. Californian Barry Waitte and De Lacruz were third in a ride time of 5:00.

Jill was first Featherweight, Christoph was first Middleweight, and Barry was first Heavyweight. First Lightweight was Dean Hoalst, riding Redwing of Courage, who finished 5th in a ride time of 5:18.

Sarah Holloway was the only Junior rider, finishing in 12th place aboard Noble Desperado in a time of 7:28. Sarah scored lots of swag from many of the generous ride sponsors.

23 started the ride, with 20 completing.

Generous Sponsorships for AERC National Championships

September 6 2016

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

There are always many sponsors that contribute to the annual AERC National Championships, and this year's edition at Antelope Island State Park in Utah is no exception. With participation and completion awards, riders from the winners to Top Tenners to Turtles benefit from the sponsors that help keep the sport fun and rewarding.

"The generosity of our sponsors for the AERCNC has been phenomenal," said ride manager Jeff Stuart. "We couldn't put on our endurance rides, and in particular, the AERCNC, without them. The riders are the benefactors, and their participation supports our sponsors." It's a Win-Win occasion.

"The generosity of companies has indeed been wonderful," added assistant ride manager Tonya Stroud, who, along with Shirley Fox Brown (also assistant ride manager), have been working non-stop with the sponsors and awards for months.

Sponsors for this year's AERC National Championships include: Hammer Nutrition, EasyCare, Redmond Salts, Rockin S Performance Horses, DWA Arabians, Vettec, Valley Vet, Home Depot, Purina horse feeds, endurance rider Chris Yost, Riding Warehouse, Arctic Horse, Saddle-Up, Crazy Legs Tights, Kerrits, IFA, Sox for Horses, Equipedic Saddle Pads, and American Trail Gear. Patty and Tonya are creating and donating special awards, and more are still coming in.

Antelope Island State Park: Extraordinary Setting for AERC National Championships

August 30 2016

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

When you come to Antelope Island for the AERC National Championships on September 8-10, you'll be riding in "one of Utah's most extraordinary parks," according to Lonely Planet.

Inside the Great Salt Lake, the island was established as a State Park in 1981. Originally used as a cattle and sheep ranch in the 1840's, the island is now home to one of the largest bison herds in the country, as well as herds of deer, pronghorn antelope (the island got its name when Kit Carson and John C Frémont hunted them in the 1800's) and bighorn sheep.

"The island is only 16 miles long, 4 miles wide," said ride manager Jeff Stuart. "The entire island is a state park. They do a great job of managing it in terms of access, wildlife, and tourism."

Ridecamp will be at the historic Fielding Garr Ranch, originally established in 1848 by Mormon pioneers and one of the oldest working ranches in the Western US. The 50 mile ride on Thursday will have 3 loops, with one out vet check and one vet check in camp. The 100 mile ride on Saturday will consist of 6 loops between 14 and 21 miles, with 4 out vet checks (at the same spot) and one vet check in camp. Finish for both rides will be in camp.

"Trails are long sections of flat/rolling with about 6 climbs up over the spine of the island," Stuart said. "Elevation goes from 4000 to 4800 feet above sea level. Footing is really good in most places, with some sections of rock that are easily traveled at a slower pace. Hoof protection is a must. Over the course of the ride, you will circumnavigate the entire island."

Scenery on and around Antelope Island State Park ranges to the spectacular, from Frary Peak - the highest point on the island at 6594 feet, to the Wasatch Range in the east, to sunsets over the Great Salt Lake in the west.

Long range forecast predicts mid to upper 70's during the days, and mid 50's at night, with no rain in the forecast.

Deadline for registration is September 5. To register, or for more information, see:

Entry Deadline for AERC National Championships Extended

August 24 2016

The deadline for entering the September 8-10 National Championship Endurance Ride at Antelope Island, Utah, has been extended to September 5. You must pre-enter for the September 8th 50 mile Championship and the September 10th 100 mile Championship. A 25 mile non-championship ride will be held on September 9th.

"We welcome any and all entries," said ride manager Jeff Stuart.

Antelope Island State Park is one of 10 islands in the Great Salt Lake, and home of a herd of bison, big horn sheep, and antelope. The island is at 4200' at the shoreline, with Frary Peak the island's highest point at 6,596 feet.

For an entry form, see:

Three Weeks till the AERC National Championships

August 17 2016

We are only about 3 weeks away from National Championship ride and have started to receive ride entries. Please keep them coming in to us. The entry deadline is August 26th. We (Management) want to keep you as updated as possible on the event and will try and post as often as needed.

As many of you know/heard there was a wildfire on the island that was started by lightning. Although 1/2 the island was burnt the pasture where we hold RideCamp at Garr Ranch was not. Jeffrey L. Stuart and I where just out there and although there are some spots that are now a little darker then others, the trails still look good and will be ready to go for the ride.

Things you need to know-

*RideCamp will be held at Garr Ranch (same as the spring ride if you were there) in the pasture. There will be plenty of parking even for the biggest rig down to my old school rig.

*The camping fee for the island is $15 a night and will be paid at the guard house as you come onto the island. This is an island fee that is charged by the island.

*Wynne Teeter (many of you know her from City of Rocks & Steph Teeter's rides) has agreed to travel down to us and prepare wonderful meals for the NC. She will be putting together a wonderful menu for us and will have breakfast, lunch & dinners to purchase on days you are not riding & for your support crew.

*Steve Bradley will be coming to the NC as our photographer. He has a unique eye for taking photos and does an amazing job. Most of you will recall the finish line photo Steve took at City of Rocks. His pictures have been in Endurance News more times then I can count. We look forward to having Steve with us.

*We will have water for your horses at RideCamp, but please bring people drinking water. We will have horse water on the trails and at vet check.

*There will be one out vet check (White Rock Bay) that will be utilized thought the ride. There is also a stop (freary peak) that will have horse water and potties if needed. Easy access for support crew. The other vet check will will be in camp. We will provide hay and water for your horses.

*We will have a dumpster at RideCamp for all horse and people trash. This is a state park so we have been asked to leave that park as we found it. That means all horse extras need to be cleaned and in the dumpster before you leave.

*We do a few corrals that can be rented for the NC. The fee is $10 a night and MUST be paid with your ride entry. I will post when all corrals have been rented.

*We will have potties in RideCamp, but the island does provide a FREE dump station if you would like to use your own and dump before you leave.

*On September 9th we will be offering a non NC LD & our first ever 25 mile Ride & Tie. The LD entry is already posted on the NC entry and the Ride & Tide entry will follow soon. Please remember if you do not have a current AERC membership card with you that you will be charged a $15 day use fee in addition to your entry fee. All Ride & Tie entries MUST have a current membership with your entry.

*The one topic we all dislike.... We love having your dogs at RideCamp, BUT the park has a very strict DOGS ON LEASH rule. If your dog is caught without a leash (and having the leash on your dog while they drag it behind them does not count.) they WILL ticket you. The ticket is not cheap so please keep your pets on a leash.

*I will be updating this often as we get closer to the ride.

For registration, go to: http://antelopeislandride.weebly.com/registration.html

If you have any questions please feel free to ask us or PM us. Hope to see you all soon.

Your Management Team.

Tonya Cmannie
Shirley Fox Brown
Jeffrey Stuart


For information registration, see http://antelopeislandride.weebly.com/registration.html

or contact Ride Manager Jeff Stuart at j4kstuart@msn.com
Assistant Ride Manager Shirley Fox Brown at shirleyanddickbrown@msn.com
Assistant Ride Manager Tonya Stroud at cm.annie@yahoo.com

We are excited to bring the AERC National Championships to Antelope Island. One of the premiere landmarks in Utah. We look forward to having some of the top endurance horses and riders from around the country. We welcome all our participants and visitors to this great event.

Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, covering 28,022 acres. It is home to bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, bobcats, upland game birds, and waterfowl.

In 1841, Osborne Russell, a trapper, made an entry in his journal referring to the presence of antelope and buffalo on the island. John C. Fremont and Kit Carson visited Antelope Island in 1845. They killed several antelope on the island thus giving Antelope Island its name.