Considered to be a "grueling mountain marathon for horses," the Western States Trail Ride, or the Tevis Cup, is one of the most challenging 100-mile rides in the world. The Ride started on July 20 at 5:15 a.m. at Robie Park near Lake Tahoe in California with the first place finisher arriving in Auburn, Calif., at 10:12 p.m., by way of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. One hundred and sixty riders took off with the goal of trying to reach Auburn within 24 hours, but by late Saturday night, 68 riders had already been pulled from the ride.
That didn't stop local riders Beverly Gray of Kamas and Sue Hedgecock from Park City and their horses from finishing in the top-ten at the 2013 Tevis Cup last weekend. The duo successfully completed approximately 17,000 feet of climbs and 21,000 feet of descents in temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. The high temperatures were considered a factor in the 47 percent completion rate; only 75 of 160 horses completed within the allowed 24 hours and vetted out completely sound.
And less than five hours after the event ended, veterinarians evaluated the top-ten equine finishers to select the winner of the Haggin Cup, which recognizes the horse found to be "in the most superior physical condition." The veterinarians presented this year's award to LZP Julio's Last Chance, a 12-year-old gray Arabian gelding ridden by Park City's own Suzanne Hedgecock; the pair completed the ride at 12:11 a.m. on July 21.
Rusty Toth and Take A Break, an 8-year-old chestnut Arabian gelding, crossed the finish line first late on July 20 to win the 58th running of the Tevis Cup.
"It was a fantastic race. My worry was the heat, 112+ in the canyons," said Bev Gray. "Jolly Sickle did exceptional. Congratulations to Sue and Julio being awarded the Haggin Cup. The Haggin Cup is a unique and special experience. To be a part of the evaluation is a gift that I will cherish for my lifetime and have an equine companion that can offer me the gift of the experience. I am humbled daily."
Founded on a bet in 1955 by one of Auburn's prominent citizens, Wendell T. Robie, modern-day endurance riding began with what now is called the Tevis Cup. He is quoted as saying "A lump in my throat and on bended knee in gratitude to my equine with wings."
Today there are hundreds of endurance riding events throughout the nation and in many countries overseas that are based upon the methods and standards originally established by this event.
For more on the Tevis Cup, visit www.teviscup.org .
Tevis Cup top finishers
1. Rusty Toth
2. Jennifer Waitte
3. Jenni Smith
4. Christoph Schork
5. Kevin Myers
6. Karen Donley
7. Mark Schuerman
8. Suzanne Hedgecock
9. Beverly Gray
10. Ann Marie Barnett