Our 2023 season kicked off with a beautiful spring weekend at Wildcat Creek horse park, a private horse campground and trail system managed by Linda and Charlie Beard. The weather was perfect, the trails in good condition and the wildflowers were everywhere. The creek was higher than it is usually during the summer and moving swiftly enough to make seeing the bottom difficult or impossible and it was decided to limit the rides to the campground side of the creek. Dave and I had planned for the Friday ride to take place all on the near side of the creek, but we had placed 5 markers for the Saturday and Sunday rides near the covered bridge and between there and the creek crossing. Luckily we had thought this might be a problem, so we planned for 5 alternate placements for those markers. We were able to put the plates out prior to the rides both days.
People started rolling in on Friday and 6 long course teams plus 3 short course teams all managed to ride and get in before dark. The small park and not crossing the creek made for some very fast times. Pam Martin and Heather Goodman (So Far So Good) aced the long course in 1:00:02, followed by the Keep Calm and Ride On team of Stacey Mason, Ryan Kissel, and Beth Jerman in 1:27:24. 3rd were Laura and Troy VanMeter (Ichiban Tai) in 1:37:06, and 4th were Tuckered Out – Tom & Karen Tucker, Scott, and Rebecca Weber with new rider Lyndsay Klemans in 2:00:59. Vera and Amy Betzelberger, (Quest), in 2:51:50 edged out Barb Brettnacher who finished in 3:18:17.
The short course had 3 entrants, and the Weekend Wranglers, Linda Gunter with juniors Kaylie Volk and Jacklyn Lewis took first place in 45 minutes and change. Christina Sepiol, riding solo, was second in 1:14:53 followed by the Pterodactyls, Jennifer, Leah, and Brianna Martin in 1:25:13.
A total of 22 riders in all competed on Friday.
Saturday dawned clear and dry.
More folks arrived and Charlie and Linda were busily putting up high lines and checking people in, making sure everyone had a place to park and camp. A total of 33 riders went out on Saturday with 11 teams choosing the long course and Christina taking the gold in the short course in 56 minutes 16 seconds. Long course winners again were Pam and Heather in just 52 minutes and 14 seconds, followed again by the Keep Calm crew, this time Stacey and Beth joined by Crystal and Keith Jencks and new rider Becky Burris. Their time was 53 minutes and 3 seconds! Third place was the Gypsy Travelers, Danielle Popovich and Svenja Chesna in 55 minutes 28 seconds. (That’s just 3 minutes 14 seconds separating the top 3 places!) Haasfarm, John and Kathy with daughter Kristin got around in 1:11:11, and the Babes of the Woods, Sara Dick, Jill VanSickle with Sharon Eberlin took 5th in 1:12:25. Troy and Laura were 6th in 1:21:24. Everyone found all 10 plates and the remaining 5 teams times ranged from 1:25 to 2:49. A super day, safe, dry and with no unplanned dismounts! Happy Ride managers!
It rained overnight and a few thunder claps were trailer rattling, but the skies cleared and the rain stopped in time for riders to head out by 9:30.
Long course: First place – AGAIN! – Pam Martin and Heather Goodman with baby on board 1:08:09. Second, in 1:08:52 (43 seconds longer!!) were Tuckered Out, Tom. Karen, Rebecca, and Scott. Third in 1:12:28 were Stacey Mason, Beth Jerman, and newbie Becky Burris. 4th were Quest, Vera and Amy Betzelberger in 1:19:27, 5th was Haas Farm, John and Kathy in 1:28:04. 6th was the Babes of the Woods, Sara Dick, Jill VanSickle, and Sharon Eberlin in 1:43:48.
One marker slowed people down a bit which was a good thing! It’s a small park and with the river high and turbulent, we lost the mileage on the other side.
Big Upset!! Newbies, doing their first ride without mentors were Lyndsay Klemens, and Shari McGuire beating out the veterans in 1:13:40. Second place was Christina Sepiol, again riding solo in 1:21:03 and third were the Weekend Wranglers, Linda Gunter, Kaylie Volk, and Jackyln Lewis.
Congratulations and thanks to all who waited out the rain to ride on Sunday – it turned out to be just another beautiful day!
Our 3 newbies all had wonderful mentors and were successfully “hooked” by our delightful sport – welcome to our 3 newest members, Lyndsay, Shari and Becky!