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50th Anniversary of the Virginia City 100


Friday

the Ride

Sunday


Virginia City 100 - 50 Years of Memories… and Rocks

September 20 2017
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Rock, rocks and more rock! You couldn't see the trees for the rocks. - Kipling the horse, 7th with rider Ronda Eden

I think it [the first loop] was rockier than cr@p, but it was so dark, I couldn't see. - Matt Scribner, 10th on MM Cody

If you see enough rocks on the trail over all daylight hours then it is quite possible you will see rocks at night when there are no rocks! - Max Merlich, 11th on TCF Miles High

The rocks - you guys got that nailed! - Darlene Anderson, 12th on Xtreme Surprise

I love the trail. And the rocks - I don't care, I still love 'em. - Kaitlyn Cummins, 13th on VA Anastahzi

Nevada does have the record for most rocks in the US. We rode over most of them yesterday! - Janet Worts, 14th on MG Sedona

Thanks for letting me ride through your rock garden! - Troy Eckard, 15th on OT Rymoni GLY


You don't have to squint too hard, as you drive up the narrow canyon and incline from Dayton, Nevada, past Silver City and Gold Hill and on up into Virginia City at 6200 feet, to imagine how it was in the old days: loaded wagons pulled by horse and mule teams up the rough steep canyon roads, wild horses, unforgiving rocky mountains, a multitude of gold and silver mines, shafts and tailings, and rocky trails.

The first gold discovered in Nevada was in 1849 in Dayton, and with the discovery of the Comstock Lode strike in 1859 (the first major silver strike in America), Virginia City sprang up more or less overnight. Much of the old time panache is still alive, with people strolling boardwalks and visiting saloons lining a narrow main street, and much of the city is perched on the terraced multitudes of old mine tailings.

It's not too hard to imagine the horses and riders of yesteryear, gathering in a group in front of Virginia City's Delta Saloon (est. 1865), forming a posse or gearing up for a cattle drive, striking out early on the trails out of town. Those old trails in the rugged desert mountains are still there, and for 50 years, on an early morning in September, endurance riders have congregated in front of the Delta Saloon, and ridden 100 miles in this rocky, mountainous terrain for the bragging rights of earning a Virginia City 100 buckle upon finishing with their amazing equine equine partner within 24 hours.

The 100-mile Virginia City trail is itself one of the stars of the show - a demanding, unforgiving trail. It's always been rocky, but after last winter's heavy snowfall (after years of drought) and spring rains, much of the topsoil washed away to - you guessed it - expose more rocks. One rider said, "My mare remembered every rock from last year… there were just more of them!" If you think about it, it's very possible that riders probably trampled over some of the very same rocks the miners and their burros stumbled over 157 years ago! (People new to southwest Idaho endurance rides often ask me, "Are the Owyhee rides rocky?" I say, "I don't know, have you ever ridden in Nevada?" Because it all depends on your perspective.)

And Bailey Canyon, on the first loop, is extra famous for its extra rocks. It'll take you about an hour to get through there if you take it steadily and carefully. If you try to rush through it, you might shave a whole 5 minutes off your time.

And there's not just rocks, but 12,064 feet of elevation gain and loss to shoulder through. The SOB's are famous - 3 short but very steep Sons o' Bitches hills (which you will agree is a wholly appropriate name, once you have ridden or walked or tailed them, particularly in the high desert heat of an afternoon) that test your horse's mettle. There's the climb up Jumbo Grade to 7629 feet not that far from the top of Mt Davidson (and don't discount the climb down), plus myriad little mountains between the start and finish lines.


With the spirits of endurance riding history and tradition behind it, 70 riders showed up at the starting line for the 50th anniversary of the Virginia City 100 at 5 AM on September 16, 2017. The ride hadn't seen that many participants in 17 years.

Horses and riders were obviously stars of the 50th Anniversary show, as well. "Magnificent horses," said Jerry Gillespie, who, with his wife Martha and daughter Cheryl and son-in-law, plus a whole group of volunteers, were on site with 2 giant horse scales to conduct a dehydration/weight loss study with willing participants. The Virginia City 100 competitors were indeed a fabulous looking group of horseflesh - sleek, fit, athletic, none too heavy, none too skinny, but just right for the rigors of the trail ahead.


The biggest star on Saturday was the 10-year-old mustang named MM Woodrow (Woody), who carried his rider, Mark Montgomery to the win in a ride time of 15:13.

Mark and Woody were in third place leaving the out vet check at 24 miles, 11 minutes behind the leader Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo, and 6 minutes behind Ann Marie Barnett aboard Ravens Allure. Coming up in the next 15 mile section was Bailey Canyon. "Bailey Canyon is not the place you're going to make up time," ride manager Crysta Turnage said Friday night at the ride meeting. "Be smart, take your time through there."

But Bailey Canyon is exactly where Mark and Woody made up time, and possibly even where they won the ride. They passed both Leah and Ann Marie in that canyon, arriving at the Washoe Lake vet check and 20 minute hold at 39 miles with the lead. Ann Marie was hot on Mark's tail, (both had the same out time of 10:31 AM), with Leah 25 minutes back. "That's his kind of trail," Mark said. "I wish the whole ride was like that! He just skipped through there."

Mark and Woody retained the lead throughout the ride, getting a little breathing room twice, when his nearest competitors were eliminated, first Ann Marie and Ravens Allure at 51 miles, then Leah Cain and OT Dyamonte Santo at 92 miles. The mustang finished at 11:33 PM, 36 minutes ahead of Lois Wifall and Morroccan Spice (ride time of 15:49).

Mark, from Penn Valley, California, first started in endurance in 2010 and has over 4000 miles. He's well known for the mustangs he trains and rides.

MM Woodrow has been somewhat of a phenomenon since Mark started him in endurance. He got Woody from a woman in Wyoming who couldn't train him, and who gave him to Mark as a 5-year-old. The now 10-year-old gelding has a record of 1905 miles with 33 completions in 35 starts, all but one of those in the Top Ten, and 17 first place finishes. His 4 100-mile completions include a first place in the 2016 Twenty Mule Team and a 34th place finish in this year's Tevis Cup (with rider Simone Krahnen), his last ride before Virginia City.

10th place Matt Scribner (who rode another of Mark's mustangs, MM Cody) said, "Mark made that horse. He was amazing."

Second place went to Lois Wifall and her 15-year-old gelding Morroccan Spice in 15:49. She was followed by the mother-son team of Peg Murphy-Hackley aboard HE Khem Chee and Bryce Hackley riding Sericko, in 16:14.


The biggest star on Sunday was HE Khem Chee. All the 4 horses (2nd place Morroccan Spice, 3rd place HE Khem Chee, 4th place Sericko, and 6th place Lynn Rigney and Predictable) that showed for Best Condition Sunday morning looked good - certainly not looking any worse for 100-mile wear - but Khemi looked absolutely fabulous in her trot outs.

Peg Murphy-Hackley bred her 11-year-old mare, by Khemistreetu x RT Johanna, by Wazirs Karahty. The mare has a record of 935 miles over 7 seasons, with 22 completions in 25 starts, and 4 100-mile completions, including Tevis (2013 and 2016), and last year's Virginia City (10th place). This year Peg, from Foresthill, California, earned her 1000-mile Tevis buckle, (she has also finished Australia's Tom Quilty twice) and with her second Virginia City buckle, she's hooked. "I'm a Tevis person, and now I'm chipping away at Virginia City. We'll be back!"


The ultimate star of the Virginia City 100 event is NASTR. Organized in 1968, the Nevada All-State Trail Riders came together for the purpose of preserving historical trails in Nevada by sponsoring and promoting horse back riding on these trails. It's made up of a grand group of dedicated individuals who diligently maintain the legacy of these Nevada rides with old photos and stories (did all of you get to page through the photo albums on the tables in the Ice House?), and who sink their heart and teeth into putting on several Nevada rides throughout the years, including the crown jewel, the Virginia City 100.

This year's ride manager, Crysta Turnage, declined credit. "It's all of you [NASTR members]. I'm just the face of it. This wouldn't happen without everybody's help." Consensus was that this year's was the best marked trail ever. Extra effort was put into not only the awards for the finishers (and each sponsor/award was recognized at the Sunday awards presentation), but each rider received a special 50th anniversary program, "Virginia City 100, 1968-2017 - 50 Years of Memories," containing stats of past VC rides and riders and horses, and special stories from some of the early ride pioneers.

And NASTR knows how to put on an awards ceremony. Special speakers Cliff Lewis (first VC 100 winner, and a founding member of NASTR), Phil Gardner (first 2000-mile VC buckle recipient), Connie Creech (2000-mile VC rider), and Gina Hall (owner of Fire Mt Destiny, who holds the record of 12 VC finishes and a 100% completion rate) gave a short talk, some of which had the audience either laughing or wiping away tears. Each finisher got a chance to speak if they wished.

A few more milestones were reached during this year's 50th anniversary. Shawn Bowling got his 1000-mile buckle award. Dave Rabe finished his 16th VC 100. Pat Chappell completed her 18th VC 100. And Connie Creech not only completed her 26th Virginia City ride, but her mare LS Steele Breeze finished her 4000th AERC mile, her 15th 100 mile ride, and her 5th Virginia City ride. That makes five horses that Connie has ridden to 5 Virginia City completions. (And for those of you who did not complete your first attempt at the VC ride, just keep in mind that Connie didn't finish her first one. :)


I'll conclude with a few more memorable quotes from this iconic 50th anniversary ride, which don't refer to rocks:

There's nowhere else I'd rather be then riding a horse here today. I don't have to be anywhere else. I don't have to do anything else but ride the VC 100! - Matt Scribner, 10th on MM Cody, at the 5 AM start

Last year I had "Virginia Shitty" engraved on my buckle. I like punishment. - Shawn Bowling, 37th on Rushcreek Spur, after receiving his 10th buckle

I swore off Virginia City after my second finish, but, oh well. Fergus just gets better and better. Now I have to come back. - Lucy Trumbull, 32nd on Fergus, her 5th buckle

Thanks for making me skip class and show up! - Bryce Hackley, 4th on Sericko, to his mom

You know you've *been somewhere* when you finish this ride! - Darlene Anderson, 12th on Xtreme Surprise

Folks in the know have said this ride is tougher than Tevis. It is possible they are right. - Max Merlich, 11th on TCF Miles High

Best ride EVER! - Tracy John (an Aussie), 31st on Al Marah Land Robin

Real Men Wear Jeans - Junior rider Frank Smith Jr, 33rd aboard WL Indicator, his first 100 and horse's first 100

To the little guy [Frank Smith, Jr] who said real men wear jeans, Real Men Wear Shorts. - Dave Rabe, 20th on Cocamoe Joe

Well, ultimately the stars weren't quite in alignment for us yesterday and we were pulled at the 76-mile point...a combo of being both overtime and Beeba was off on the right hind at the trot.
Still, can't complain...that red mare poured her heart out for me all day long over some incredible and challenging trail. This was the longest either of us have gone before, and she headed out of camp for that second loop after 50 miles without any fuss or question. She was an energizer bunny all day, steadily eating up the miles, and eating and drinking amazingly well.
And me? More 75s and 100s, please! There's something special about these longer distances and I can't wait to do more of them.
Much more later...this was an incredible ride and I'm glad to have had the chance to start it this year. The VC magic got its hooks in me and you can be sure I'll return for another go at it! - Ashley Wingert, OT pull on The Habibah RA

Success. So grateful for all the support. I feel like one must feel when standing atop Mt Everest. To take on the huge challenge and achieve that goal. Knowing you still have work ahead to complete the journey. But treasuring the moment and the intense feelings. - Crysta Turnage, Ride Manager


Mustang Wins 50th Virginia City 100

September 18 2017

Mark Montgomery of Penn Valley, California, and his Wyoming mustang WW Woodrow (Woody) won the 50th running of the Virginia City 100 ride out of Virginia City, Nevada on September 16th. They completed the ride in 15 hours 13 minutes.

Coming in second was Lois Wifall aboard Morroccan Spice in a ride time of 15:49.

Third and fourth went to the mother-son Hackley team. Mom Peg Murphy-Hackley rode HE Khem-Chee, and son Bryce rode Sericko to finish in 16:14. HE Khem-Chee won Best Condition the next morning.

41 completed the ride out of 70 starters.


THE FINISH


1. Mark Montgomery - MM Woodrow - 15:13
2. Lois Wifall - Morroccan Spice - 15:49
3. Peg Murphy-Hackley - HE Khem-Chee - 16:14
4. Bryce Hackley - Sericko - 16:14
5. Kristen Maholland - HCC Elessar - 16:34
6. Lynn Rigney - Predictable - 16:34
7. Ronda Eden - Kipling - 18:09
8. Heather Lyman - CV Orly - 18:09
9. Pat Chappell - Dusty Starshine Zarif - 18:12
10. Matt Scribner - MM Cody - 18:12
11. Max Merlich - TCF Miles High - -18:16
12. Darlene Anderson - Xtreme Surprise - 18:16
13. Kaitlyn Cummins - VA Anastahzi - 18:18
14. Janet Worts - MG Sedona - 18:32
15. Troy Eckard - OT Rymoni GLY - 18:32
16. Andrew Gerhard - Rex - 18:35
17. Erin McChesney - Karahty's Tahoe - 18:35
18. Bob Spoor - Rashid - 1850
19. C. Louise Smith-Engstrom - B R Lucytiki de Soi - 18:50
20. Dave Rabe - Cocamoe Joe - 19:01
21. Connie Creech - LS Steele Breeze 10 - 19:01
22. Natalie Drost - LC Andes - 19:05
23. Sheri Weast - AA Ankhem - 19:05
24. Melissa Formica - CJA Twilight Mist - 19:18
25. Kim Dean - Navajo - 19:18
26. Karen Gunderson - Limitless - 19:26
27. Jennifer Crenshaw - MB Triple Bay Bask - 19:20
28. Gayle Pena - GP Bold FX+/ - 19:41
29. Janine Esler - GED - 19:41
30. Kelly Williams Stehman - Mystical Dancer - 19:45
31. Tracy John - Al Marah Land Robin - 19:45
32. Lucy Trumbull - Fergus - 19:45
33. Frank Smith Jr (Junior) - WL Indicator - 19:53
34. Jack Bowling (Junior) - Rushcreek Caribou - 19:53
35. Jakob Gregory (Junior) - Foxfire's Little Britches - 19:53
36. James Mather - HR Fameletta - 19:53
37. Shawn Bowling - Rushcreek Spur - 19:53
38. Frank Smith - Zanes Darby Ogill - 19:53
39. LuAnne Thomas - Haat Phoenix Sun - 20:21
40. Lorna Dubrovony - Chip O Huck - 20:21
41. Robert Weldin - Sundance Kid - 20:21




Attention Virginia City 100 Riders and Crews

NASTR.org

Please read this for important information about parking and housekeeping.

PARKING NOTICE: As most of you know, the parking at the Ice House (95 Toll Rd, Virginia City, NV) is limited and we have to conserve space as efficiently as possible. If you can trailer pool, that would be very helpful. The Storey County rock and sand piles are as big as ever in base camp. For those arriving at the Ice House Thursday afternoon (camp opens at 2:00 pm) or early Friday morning you will need to park along the back perimeters, so as not to block off any access. Please be aware of this, as we will ask you to move if there is parking behind you and no one can get to it.

If you are in the upper parking area at the Ice House, please BACK in (unload your horse first as needed) and park like the spokes of a wheel, with everyone facing out. Park as close to each other as possible. Yes, unfortunately this means that you yourself might become blocked, so plan with your neighbor a route to get your crew vehicles in and out. On the bottom level we will mark off from the entrance road a vehicle lane to access the back near the rock and sand piles.

**OVERFLOW PARKING** This year we have access to the Virginia City Rodeo Grounds at 575 H Street (see map attached). This is 1 mile from the Ice House and is better overnight accommodations for your horses. The footing is softer and there is an arena on-site you can use to turn out your horse for a while before/after the ride (take turns). For LARGE rigs, this is the better parking option as space is less limited. There will be hose water and restrooms on site.

For anyone camping at the Rodeo Grounds – we will rope off a large CREW AREA at the Ice House. You can bring your crew supplies up and treat the Ice House as an “away” check. Crews can drop off your supplies and then park their vehicles at the paved lot near the Fire House, which is less than a block from camp. It should make for easy access and quick retrieval of any forgotten items which you suddenly realize you need.

Horse camping will not be allowed on any adjacent city streets. Volunteer camping and parking will be allowed on the paved area to the right near the Fire House on Toll Road before dropping down into the Ice House or at the Rodeo Grounds (if camping). Extra crew parking will be available here also. The Fire House doors cannot be blocked in case of an emergency. NO HORSES ARE ALLOWED TO CAMP IN THE PAVED LOT.

We will have a few individuals available to assist in getting you parked. It might be a good idea for you to stop at the entrance before you drive in and take a look around before driving into camp. Once the Ice House is full, all other rigs will be directed to the Rodeo Grounds for parking.

For crews interested in staying at a motel/hotel, please see the list below:

Sugarloaf Mountain Motel - 430 South C. St. Rooms - $85.00 / (775) 847-0551 /www.sugarloafmountain-motel.com
Virginia City Motel - 675 South C. St. - Rooms - $80.00-$90.00 / (775) 847-0551 /www.virginiacityinn.com
Gold Hill Hotel - 1540 Main St. Gold Hill, - historic hotel / (775) 847-0111 /www.goldhillhotel.net

Please be prepared to clean up ALL HAY AND MANURE from your campsite – regardless of where you are camped. A dump trailer will be available at the ride site for your disposal. Please DO NOT TOSS ANY HAY OR MANURE off the side of the hill. This is very important for NASTR to receive the HEFTY cleaning deposit back. If you have laid out shavings or hay for bedding, make sure this is completely cleaned up.

Thanks so much for your cooperation. We are excited that you all will be joining us. It is going to be a great event and a lot of fun!

Please pass on this notice to anyone you may know that has not yet entered. If you have any questions, please call me at (775) 762-8086 or email at vc100ride@gmail.com.

Crysta Turnage

Virginia City 100 Ride Manager

Nevada All-State Trail Riders, Inc.


50th Virginia City 100 Next Weekend

1968-2016:

1968-2016 Total Completions = 1,942
1968-2016 Total Riders = 940

1968 Ride:

October 5th, 1968 marked the inaugural Virginia City 100 ride, known at its onset as the Nevada All-State Trail Ride, 100 Mile - One Day. Cliff Lewis and Dean Hubbard approached Nick Mansfield who hosted the start and finish of the Ride at his 102 Ranch in Sparks, NV. They wanted to make sure that the trail included all the great features of the area. The ride ended up being way over 100 miles - and there was a also lunar eclipse.

33 riders started, with 11 finishers - and 2 more finishers over the 24 hour limit. Horses had to carry a minimum of 150 lbs. Shannon Yewell Weil and Cliff Lewis finished first with the same time - 19 hours 41 minutes (minus the three hours of vet holds, for a 16:41 riding time). The ride chart shows that the two overtime riders - Shirley Wheeler and Mark Steen - received buckles.

The original finishing chart can be found here, along with photos from the ride that year.


Virginia City 100

The Trail: Consists of three loops (51, 25, 24 miles), each returning to base camp in Virginia City. There will be an outlying vet check on the first and last loop, with (2) one hour hold vet checks at base camp. Crews will have easy access to meet riders along the trail. The trail covers hard pack and rocky terrain on historical wagon (now jeep) roads with some sandy single track footing and several mountain climbs. There is also pavement through town and across highways. Riders are responsible for their own safety while crossing paved roads. We do advise the use of pads and/or easy boots. Elevations range between 5000 and 7800 feet. Each loop will be marked with a different color of ribbon, along with chalk and glow sticks (after dark). Water & hay will be provided on the trail and at the two outlying vet checks. The ride will start in front of the Delta Saloon at 5:00 a.m., Saturday. Allow yourself time to get from camp to the Delta by 5:00 a.m. (approximately 20 minutes). There will be a controlled start out of town. Virginia City 100 is the final ride of the Triple Crown Challenge.

Base Camp: We will be returning to the Ice House on Toll Road in Gold Hill for our base camp. Parking will be on grindings (asphalt), and will be very crowded. There will be limited room for portable corrals. If you have the ability, it would be helpful if you could car pool. The camp site will be open from Thursday evening to Sunday evening. Horse water will be available. COME PREPARED, the elevation of Virginia City is over 6000 feet and can get cold at night. The comforts of motels and cafes can be found, as well as shopping and sightseeing within walking distance of base camp.

Directions to Base Camp:

From Reno take I-580 S/US-395 S. Take the US-395 S exit (Exit 57B) toward Virginia City/Carson City/So. Lake Tahoe. Merge onto US-395 Alt S/S. Virginia St. Turn left on to Geiger Grade/NV-341 to Virginia City. Drive through downtown Virginia City towards Gold Hill. Turn left on Toll Road (before heading down the hill). Watch for ribbons and follow to the Ice House.

From Carson City take Hwy. 50 East to NV-341, follow the truck route to the right. When you reach Virginia City turn left at the stop sign (NV-342/C Street), towards Gold Hill. Turn left again on Toll Road (before heading down the hill). Watch for ribbons and follow to the Ice House.

Calcutta: Following the pre-ride meeting, we will have a fun filled Calcutta. Payoffs will be given to buyers of the top three in each division, and announced at the awards banquet. BRING LOTS OF DOUGH; EACH AND EVERY RIDER WILL BE AUCTIONED! Your favorite horse and rider team may pay off for you!

500/1,000 Mile Horses: Horses completing the ride five times will receive a 500 mile halter. Also, horses completing the ride ten times will receive a 1,000 mile blanket.


Brandon Reed and BA Treacle Win 2016 Virginia City 100

September 18 2016

Brandon Reed and BA Treacle won the 49th annual Virginia City 100 endurance ride Saturday near Virginia City, Nevada. They finished at 10:55 PM. The start was 5 AM, in front of the Bucket of Blood Saloon in downtown Virginia City. The mare is owned by Hugh and Gloria Vanderford; Brandon rode her to a 14th place finish in the Wild West 50 in June, and a second place finish on the Camp Far West 50 on September 3.

BA Treacle also won the Best Condition award. High vet score went to 4th place MM Cody, ridden by Samantha Ellis.

44 riders started, 29 finished.

Interesting stats from the ride (thanks Lucy Trumbull!)
• Robert Ribley's 27th place finish (riding Spotted Wap) was his 97th 100-mile finish
• Jamie Kerr finished 26th, after years of being head vet for the ride
• Carolyn Meiers completed her 10th VC 100. She sponsored
• Junior Alex Neihaus, who finished her 6th 100-mile ride this year!
• Gina Hall and Fire Mtn Destiny - Destiny's 12th VC 100 finish! an all-time record
• there were 11 first-time VC riders who completed
• Pat Chappell got her 17th VC 100 completion
• 5th place Suzanne Ford-Huff finished her 47th 100-mile ride
• NASTR Triple Crown winner (NV Derby 50 in the spring, NASTR 75 in the summer, and VC100 in the fall) - Leigh Bacco and Picante