Middle Fork CMO (INIL)

Late in June, our part of Illinois experienced a derecho (a straight-line wind storm) with winds up to 90 mph. Mature, healthy trees were snapped like toothpicks. The Middle Fork Wildlife Area was hit hard. Parts of the campgrounds were unusable, and many trails were impassable. The park rangers did a wonderful job of clearing the downed trees, and well before the time of our CMO on Aug 12 and 13 all of the trails were open (though some required riding around downed trees and branches), and the park was full of prairie flowers.

Every CMO comes with trail challenges beyond finding the plates. We had our share, including hot and humid weather, a surprise heavy (but short) rainfall, hungry horseflies, and ground bees showing up at unpredictable times and locations. In addition, our trail map can’t show all the temporary trails created for dove hunters, dog trials and farmer byways, so it’s sometimes hard to know whether what you’re seeing is a trail that’s on the map. But most of the teams found all the plates both days, and those that didn’t found all but one.

The top 3 long course placings were the same both days. First place went to Jamie Reed (who came in an hour ahead of the 2nd place team on Saturday), second place to Carol Bertilson, Marti Caldwell and Denise Bingamon, and third place went to Stacey and Anthony Mason and Beth Jerman. On Saturday fourth place went to the team Tuckered Out: Tom and Karen Tucker and Scott and Rebecca Weber, and on Sunday it went to Barb and Ed Brettnacher.

The short course was won on Saturday by Nancy and Rose Bretz and Linda Goby.
The three of them came with only two horses, and one of the horses had
a scary meltdown in camp. Ride manager Florence Mathieu very generously offered two of her horses for that team’s use, and they had a successful ride. Rose (who was the compass reader) wasn’t able to stay for Sunday’s ride, but Nancy and Linda were joined and mentored by Jared Isaac and won again. Saturday’s 2nd place winners were newbies Julie Jensen, Penni Miller and Mary Taylor, ably mentored by Debra Rubel. This team came in third on Sunday, when second place went to the Tuckered Out team.

On Saturday while waiting for teams to return and at the potluck it was wonderful to be joined by some members of our CMO family who aren’t competing these days: Nancy Fermanian and Sue Anglen. Sue’s husband Don helped me do time calculations (I needed pen and paper; he did them in his head.)

Thanks to all for coming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *