One of the premier endurance events of 2015, the 45th Annual Ride & Tie World Championship, is to take place on part of the Pacific Crest Trail near the town of Ashland, Oregon. The race is set to stage at the Lily Glen Horse Camp which is owned and managed by Jackson County Parks (http://jacksoncountyor.org/parks/Camping/Howard-Prairie-Lake/Lily-Glen-Park). The majority of the trails will be on land owned and managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
Last years’ overall winners, the father/daughter team of Jim and Sara Howard, will be there to defend their title. Jim has won the Championship 13 times, and 4 of those wins have been with his daughter, Sara. Mary Tiscornia will be back to compete in her 45th World Ride & Tie Championships. With some skill and luck, the 2015 Championship will be Mary’s 41st completion.
Veteran ride and tie competitors will be arriving by truck and horse-trailer from all over the western states, with more distant athletes flying in, some from overseas. A cash award of $250 has been offered by the Race Director, Chris Amaral, to the top team from Jackson County, OR who finishes in the Top 10. Other awards will include $100 to the top Pro-Am team donated by Barrie Grant and $500 to the winner of the Pat’s Purse donated by Pat and Nita Browning. The Pro-Am Award goes to the top team that consists of a Pro (finishing 2 or more long course events or one Championship) who teams with an Amateur (less than 2 long course finishes and not Championship finishes). Pat’s Purse goes to the team who has at least one member that has never won the Championship. No team claimed Pat’s Purse in the last 2 Championship events.
In addition to open arms, in the past months the Association has welcomed newcomers with local practices, a wealth of assistance including help finding teammates, and shorter pre-Championship races so new competitors can work out their “big race” strategy. The Ride & Tie World Championship race features belt buckles for all long-course (36 miles) finishers. Unlike most Championship events, there is no pre-qualification required to compete in the Ride & Tie World Championship.
Several teams will also fly in from the East Coast. According to long-time Ride & Tie Board Member Lani Newcomb, Ride & Tie has become extremely popular in Virginia and up and down the eastern seaboard. It’s not unusual for them to see 20 or more teams at a local race.
“If you can ride, and you can run… you will love ride and tie,” asserts competitor Steph Irving, who likes to point out this sport’s world championship is unique with weekend-athletes racing alongside elite-class athletes without pre-qualification. While the ability to ride is a necessity, some competitors prefer to hike instead of running when off the shared horse. “The bragging rights that go along with your belt buckle will last a lot longer than any post-race soreness,” Irving advises first-timers.
Teams from California, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon will enjoy the luxury of competing in the sport’s signature event right in their own backyard. The race passes through open glens and forests of mostly evergreen trees. While competitors may not initially realize they are running on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), they will soon start to see folks hiking from Mexico to Canada on the historic trail.
Bud Johns will be there in spirit to act as starter for the race, the 45th running of the sport he invented and launched in 1971. When the race starts Saturday morning at seven o’clock, contestants will turn from the beauty of the setting to the challenge of the course. Veterinarian staff, headed by Dr. Greg Fellers DVM, will monitor equestrian health throughout the race.
Each year the course mileage of the Ride & Tie World Championship varies, depending on the difficulty of the terrain. The race director’s challenge is to design a course that will take the top team approximately four hours to complete. Last year’s Ride & Tie World Championship was held near Auburn, California, and was won, by a man/woman team, in a time of four hours and forty-three minutes. This year’s long course is expected to be approximately 36 miles with over 3000’ of elevation gain, and the short course will be 18 miles. The animal team member’s health and safety are always paramount. The equine member must pass a pre-race veterinary examination, a series of mid-race exams and a final post-race exam. Only after being judged “fit to continue” is the team awarded their completion.
About the Sport of Ride & Tie
The sport of Ride & Tie combines trail running, endurance riding, and strategy. The goal is to get all three team members, two humans and one horse, across a 20 to 100 mile cross-country course by alternating riding and running. Everyone starts out together. The rider, being faster, rides ahead and ties the horse to a tree, and then continues down the trail on foot. The team member who started out on foot gets to the horse, unties, mounts up and rides past the runner, ties the horse and this leapfrog continues the entire course. When, where, and how a team exchanges riding for running is almost entirely up to each team to develop their own strategy.
About The Ride and Tie Association
The Ride and Tie Association is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the sport of Ride & Tie and safe endurance horse management. As What Is This Madness? recounts, the oldest documented description of riding and tying was 1737 (in England) and a chapter in a novel published in 1742 describing it as the means of transportation “our prudent ancestors used”.
In the old West, frontiersmen discovered two men could travel great distances at a fast pace without wearing down the horse if they traded off. Ride & Tie was invented as a sport and gained national attention in 1971 when Levi Strauss sponsored the first Levi’s Ride & Tie. The
Association offers a mentor program, partner matching, training videos, hosts practice Ride & Ties, and sanctions regional and national and international events. For more information about Ride & Tie, visit the web site at www.rideandtie.org.