Record Snowfall Forces Rescheduling of Tevis Ride

Originally scheduled for July 16, the 55th running of the 100-mile Tevis Ride endurance competition has been rescheduled for October 8 due to record snows along the traditional route held in California's High Sierra mountains.

Ride director Chuck Stalley and crews scouted alternate routes; however, continued snow through May and June caused deep snowpacks to develop on trails and roads normally used by the hundreds of volunteers and veterinarians--including evacuation personnel for fatigued equine and human competitors. At Robinson Flat, the site of a major vetting and crewing operation ("crewing" refers to the time spent at checkpoints tending to the horse's needs for water and food and ensuring they're fit and ready to continue the ride), snow covered all but the tops of outhouses in June.

Kate Riordan, public relations director for the event said that she's lived near the site of the Tevis ride for 62 years and the weather this year has been "unbelievable" this year.

Another consideration event organizers took into account while making the date change centered on the high water level of the American River, which horses must cross during the ride. Record snows continue to create record runoff. The unusually high water level could have made the river extremely dangerous for teams to cross.

The final consideration was that the unusually cool spring temperatures have prevented riders from using the trails for spring conditioning.

"Everything has been a factor in the decision," noted Riordan.

Ride entries for 2011 had been strong with more than 200 entrants from several states and countries registered when the decision to reschedule was made.

Changing the ride to a fall date will minimize the amount of daylight available for riders to successfully complete the distance in the allotted 24 hours. However, an October ride will likely give competitors cooler temperatures in which to complete the strenuous canyon climbs.

"We must rally and emulate the pioneer spirit the ride honors," said Riordan. "Hopefully, everyone will adapt and come. After all, it is the Tevis."

About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

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