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2022 Owyhee Tough Sucker - photos and results

2021 Owyhee Tough Sucker - photos and results

2020 Owyhee Tough Sucker - photos and results

2019 Owyhee Tough Sucker - photos and results

2018 Owyhee Tough Sucker - photos and results

2017 Owyhee April Fools (Tough Sucker!) - photos and results

2016 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2015 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2014 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2013 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2012 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2011 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2010 Tough Sucker - photos and results

2009 Tough Sucker - photos and results

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2018 Owyhee Tough Sucker
Images by Merri

2023 Owyhee Tough Sucker

April 1 near Oreana!

Friday Vet In

The Ride

Annnnd… We're Off at Owyhee Tough Sucker! - Merri Melde

April 3 2023
by Merri Melde

The 2023 ride season started for Hillbillie Willie and me at the local Tough Sucker ride that we help Regina put on down the road

For me it was a tossup as to whether we’d start our season with a 25 or a 50. With the same crazy winter most all of us have had this year, (this Ice Princess is not complaining :) ), and because at home we have so many cows out all over the place it’s hard to get a long hard sustained workout without running over baby calves, Willie wasn’t as fit as I’d like. He *could* do a 50 as this is not a hard ride, but he would be best fit for a 25. Then there was the usual Tough Sucker weather to deal with: it’s always windy, and more than anything, I hate the wind. HATE the wind. Plus there would likely be some rain/hail/snow showers to go with the wind. I was leaning toward the 50, but I’d decide in the morning.

In the morning, after I saw that Willie had not eaten much (I’d brought along some new hay, which, bummer, apparently he does not particularly like, though he didn’t eat much of his regular hay either) nor had he drank much. That was the clincher. We’d do the 25 and consider it a good training ride for our next event.

We struck out on the trail with one of Willie’s cute friends, Girl, ridden by Jill. We’d ridden together at City of Rocks last year on a 25, and they’d matched up well. Girl set a smoking pace out of Ridecamp and we kept it up for most of the 16 mile first loop. Trails were just about perfect footing - soft but not gopher-holey, and no dust to speak of yet! I always ride Willie with a heart rate monitor now, so I kept an eye on that. While he was running 10-20 beats higher at times that he normally would when he’s fit, he was handling it well and dropping on downhills or flats. And he was enjoying the quick pace with his cute partner, who always made sure Willie respected her space. We loved the winding canal trail after the Snake River.

It’s fun to watch Jill and Girl; Girl is all business and they have both put in a lot of time doing dressage work. She moves along the trail so nicely and balanced.

We eased up a bit the last couple of miles, and Layne and Atlas caught up with us and passed us. It was Layne’s first Endurance ride back after back surgery and a long recovery/rehab process, so this was a big test for her!

Willie wasn’t interested in any water on trail, nor did he want a drink from the troughs when we got back to Ridecamp for the vet check. However, when I picked up a sponge bucket full of water and held it up for him, he took a nice drink. Hey, whatever works! He only took a minute to pulse down to 60, so, so far I was quite pleased with his ride.

I took Willie to his pen for food (he wanted his grain, no hay, though later he did munch on a bit of alfalfa), and by the time I remembered - oh yea, I forgot to take him to the vet, (how long have I been doing this???), his pulse was down to 48. Yay!...

Read the rest at:

Ride Report: Owyhee Tough Sucker 2023 - Tamara Baysinger

TheSweatyEquestrian.com - Full Story

April 3 2023
by Tamara Baysinger

Ledger pranced past the vetting area with arched neck and flagging tail. He was boiling to let loose. I wouldn’t have put it past him to buck. One-rein stops had held him back several times in the last two minutes.

Let’s race!

Storm clouds rose, steely and menacing, from their crouch on the horizon. A tide of dust swirled from stamping hooves. Ledger fussed beneath the stethoscope of a blessedly patient vet, trotted out clean, and was pronounced fit to continue.

Alas, we were at the finish.

Had it not been for the incoming storm, with its plummeting temperature and icy rain, I’d have saddled him back up for a post-LD education in the art and science of You Never Know How Far We’re Going to Go, Buddy.

As it was, I contented myself with the incomplete, but significant, progress we’d made over the day’s 25 miles at Owhyee Tough Sucker.

Signing up for the Limited Distance ride, instead of the 50, was a difficult choice. Ledger has felt strong on our conditioning rides. We’ve put in about 20 miles per week, split into two rides, since early February. If he had ended last season 50-mile fit, I probably would have gone for it. As it was, I decided to err on the safe side.

So, we enjoyed a lazy morning (as race days go) before a 9:00 a.m. start. I had plenty of time for groundwork, which felt largely unnecessary. Ledger didn’t fuss when the 50-milers left, and he remained mellow as LD riders began swirling around the starting line.

I shrugged and hopped on as the front runners hit the trail. We followed, walking on a loose rein. The ribbons led us along a fenceline for a couple hundred feet, then passed through a gate and did a 180 onto a singletrack into the hills. A truck and trailer rattled through the gate right after us, and BAM!

Ledger lost it...

Read more here:
Come join us! We'll have an easy/moderate trail since both riders and horses have had a slow start getting in shape (the Winter From Hell). Single track trails, decent footing - though there will be some sand washes and a few rocky stretches. We’ll be riding north of basecamp and across Hwy 78 - for the best footing, and the fewest cows.

Registration and vetting will start some time Friday afternoon (probably around 4:00). We'll have a ride meeting and snacks Friday evening to describe the trails, vetting, etc. If this is your first ride, be sure to let us know and we'll give you some extra tips.

2022 Owyhee Dust Bowl - er, Owyhee Tough Sucker

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
April 4 2022

My goodness. We expected the wind to blow in the afternoon, but nobody predicted the Dust Bowl that the trails became, or that Ridecamp morphed into throughout ride day. But, as Mike Cobbley said, “Hey, I’m looking on the bright side. No gnats!” That’s because all the gnats were hurled into the next state by the wind and dust. (You are welcome, Nevada!)

Once you were already out riding in the wind you just took it. Even when it was blowing so hard, if it was coming from behind you, dust clouds blew forward onto and enveloped the leading horse, and it buffeted you around in the saddle up on the Hallelujah Rim and some of the wind-funnel valleys.

But oooooh the poor, wonderful volunteers and crews and vets in camp had it the worst. All of us, riders, horses, in-campers had dust in every pore and crevice, and oooooh the poor eyeballs. Brings up the question, what did/do the Bedouins in the Arabian deserts do? They are covered from head to toe except for their eyeballs, day after month after year after decade. How do they not go blind from the dust storms?

It was so dusty in camp that Regina forgot and left one of her truck windows open during the day and consequently captured about 60 pounds of dust inside. It was so dusty Regina bagged baking lasagna for dinner on her outside grill as it would have been Dust Lasagna. It was so dusty that the next day when I washed clothes, washing only polished the dirt but didn’t remove it.

And one reason that it was so dusty was because we had to shift Ridecamp pastures at the last minute; two days before our ride, a rancher’s bulls were in our pasture (“they are NOT nice bulls,” said ride manager Regina), then they were gone for a day, but then they were herded back into the pasture Friday evening (which was quite entertaining for some of the horses in camp.) Our new camping ’pasture’, sparsely covered with dead tumbleweeds, quickly turned to dust with horse hooves and truck tires.

But (despite the wind) the weather was perfect for riding, trails around the Snake River and along the Oregon Trail were pretty and the footing fabulous.

It wasn’t a big crowd, but 27 hit the trails on Saturday morning, with, at the finishes, only one lameness and one rider option. Highlights were Cat Cook finishing her first 50, after umpteen years of riding LDs, and on the famous-and-sometimes-wild-man Talladega, owned by Mike Cobbley. Cassee Terry, who’s been vetting northwest rides since 2006, finished her first 50 on Kristen Grace’s JoJo. She rode with Kristen and her daughter Joslynn. She *says* she was only a little stiff the next day. Brad Drake and Mi Coy Raven rode their first Idaho ride and tied for the win in the 50 with David Laws and Che Ole, and Dick Root and OFW Alivia (Best Condition). Karen Steenhof and WMA Proclaim (Riley) were familiar faces getting the LD Best Condition award.

2021 Owyhee Tough Sucker

by Merri Melde

What do Idaho's Owyhee Tough Sucker endurance ride and the Mongol Derby have in common?


Normally held the first weekend in April, Tough Sucker switched with Eagle Canyon - which is normally the last weekend in April - because numerous riders were seeking a 100-mile ride, either for 100-mile newbies, or as early prep for the AERC National Championships in June in Montana… or the Mongol Derby in Mongolia in August!

Go figure - it hasn't rained in months in the Owyhee desert, but Mother Nature saved it all up for the weekend: it's not called the Owyhee Tough Sucker ride for nothing! Just pack your trailer full of the full range of clothing, and expect it all, and you'll be set. throughout the day, depending on what part of the trail you were on, you might have had warm sunshine, cold showers, thunderstorms, or gulley-washing downpours.

Eight riders signed up to do the 100-miler, which became nine riders, when Jeff Stuart on a whim changed from his planned 50 on 18-year-old JV Remington (Gus) to the 100. In his 17 years of endurance, he had yet to finish a 100. "I like 50's," he said, but it didn't take long to convince himself to go for the 100. The 4 rides with Mongol Derby connections/aspirations came with Dylan and Stevie Delahunt brought 3 riders along.

Super-adventurer Stevie has competed in the Mongol Derby, Gaucho Derby (Argentina), and Race the wild Coast (South Africa); Dylan and friends crewed while Stevie led Alexandra Fetterman (endurance rider doing her first 100, riding the Mongol Derby in 2022), Heidi Falzon (venter doing her first endurance ride, riding the Mongol Derby in 2022), and Deirdre Griffith (horse packer doing her first endurance ride, riding the Mongol Derby this year) to a finish in the Tough Sucker 100.

Jessica Cobbley and Brass, and Mike Cobbley and Khalid finished second and third, and Jeff Stuart and Gus won the 100 by 4 minutes in a ride time of 15:18. They also got Best Condition. Not bad for a couple of old guys (they just reached their Decade Team status in the Antelope Island 50 miler two weeks earlier). Jeff got that 100 monkey off his back!

Seven out of nine finished the 100-miler.

Seven started the 75-miler, with 4 finishing. First place and Best Condition was Melissa Montgomery aboard West Wind Dragon in 10:26.

Finishing third aboard Bucephalos was Lindsay Fisher in 11:45. If you look closely at this 23-year-old gelding, especially when he pins his ears when she trots him out, he might remind you of a certain Monk, whom Lindsay rode for many years, finishing Tevis on him 5 times and winning the Haggin Cup in 2019. And that's because he's the sire of Monk. He started endurance at age 16 and has only done a handful of rides, but Lindsay's bringing him along with the goal of competing at Tevis. It's possible that Bucephalos and Monk could ride the trail together, and, as Lindsay pointed out, how many times have a parent/offspring ridden Tevis together? 18 started the 55, with 15 finishing. Trina Lenmark and Rushcreek Cricket won in 6:10 and got Best Condition. Suzanne Ford Huff and Beth Kauffmann hauled from the Gardnerville, Nevada area for the ride; in finishing in 6th and 7th places, Beth hit the 15,000 mile mark (she was sitting on 14,999 miles :) )

29 started the 30-miler, with 27 finishing. Zane and dad Matthew Geddes came in first, with third place Simone Mauhl and Dudley's friend Boogey getting Best Condition.

The Owyhee Tough Sucker will happily take credit for helping steer a couple of Mongol Derby competitors over the next 2 years in the right trail directions (Idaho's Bob Long won it in 2019, you all know). We'll be watching and rooting from the Owyhee desert!

Owyhee Tough Sucker to Offer Early-Season 100

February 28 2021
by Merri Melde

Idaho's Owyhee Tough Sucker, normally scheduled as the first endurance ride of the Northwest season, has moved this year to the last weekend in April, and will offer a 100-mile ride in addition to a 25, 50 and 75-miler.

Ride manager Regina Rose said, "Several people were asking me if I'd put on a 100, but the first of April is pretty early in the season. So I talked with Layne Lewis (ride manager of the Eagle Canyon ride in Eagle, Idaho), and we decided to switch dates." Lewis' Eagle Canyon 25 and 50-mile ride will be held on April 3rd, and the Owyhee Tough Sucker will be held April 24th.

In the Owyhee desert, near 3500 feet, the ride will offer up a moderate, do-able early-season 100-mile trail, over 2-track roads and cow trails, with minimum sand and minimum rocks to negotiate. Parts of the trail will follow the historic Oregon Trail near the Snake River.

"The trails are not hard, but not easy," Rose said. "The 100 will have several gentle climbs and descents of 1000 feet throughout the ride. It's an early-season opportunity for folks to start preparing for the National Championships in Montana in June, and Tevis in July."

Watch the Tough Sucker Video

Ride Managers Regina Rose

for more information, contact:
Regina Rose

2019 Owyhee Tough Sucker - Merri Melde

Perfect trails, perfect weather: that sums up the first ride of the 2019 season in the Northwest region.

The 13th Owyhee Tough Sucker attracted 39 riders to the scenic (green!) high desert trails around Wild Horse Butte, along the Snake River, over the Oregon trail, all framed to the West by the snow-covered Owyhee mountains. Perfect footing made for good moving out if your horses were fit, or good training if your horses missed out on that because of the erratic winter. Cool overcast weather (but no rain or wind) meant no gnats (yay!), and easier going for some of those horses still carrying winter coats. And there was plenty of grass along the trails to boost horse morale and energy and gut sounds!

19 started the 50 miler, with 18 finishing. David Laws and his Kentucky Mountain horse Che Ole won the 50 in 5:20, with second place Kristen Grace and her stallion Monster taking Best Condition. The Big Brass wasn't taking a 'slow down' from Jessica Cobbley, (Brass might get to meet the Big Horn and Tevis trail this year), and he roared to third place in a group with Layne Lewis and Beauty's Harley, and Taladega and Jessica Huber. Huber insisted, to those who saw Dega bucking at the start, that he was good the rest of the ride.

The young Standardbred Hillbillie Willie had a great ride with his wise mentors Uncle Mal (Fire Mt Malabar and Naomi Preston) and Cuzin Hawk (JAC Winterhawk and Lee Pearce).

20 started the 25 miler, with 18 finishing. Connie Holloway and DWA Saruq finished first in 3:11, with third place Paul Hughes and Noslos Ineedaname (3:13) getting Best Condition. Paul's wife Jamie finished second on Hadban USA (3:12). This couple will be putting on their first endurancer ride, the Hughes Highland Hay-Day 25/50/75/100 - and Trail Ride - on May 18 in Mattawa, Washington. Junior Belle Albright rode and finished her first endurance ride ever aboard Jose Viola, and Junior Jacelyn Butler finished her second ride ever aboard Belesema Star Ebony.

2019 Ride Day photos!