WSTF President’s Message
Dr. Mike Peralez is the head veterinarian for the Tevis in 2017. Mike is a rider and rode in NATRC in the 1970s as a junior. I know this because I competed against him then. He also has four Tevis buckles, including one from 1983, when Tevis also started in Soda Springs due to excessive snow. He said riding the alternate route was a wonderful experience. In the article below, Mike shares his experience of riding the Tevis that started in Soda Springs with the riders who will start the 2017 Tevis also in Soda Springs.
Tony Benedetti, WSTF President
1983: The First Soda Springs Tevis Ride
Mother Nature has a way of messing with the Tevis Cup ride. Recently, we have had fire (2008),snow, subsequent postponement, and more snow (2011), and, of course, this year’s white trail. But how many of you remember the snow of year of 1983?
I was lucky enough to have ridden the 1983 Tevis Cup when we started out of Soda Springs in the ski area parking lot. I was young - not yet 20 years old - and anxious about another Tevis start. We all gathered in Squaw Valley on Friday, July 22, 1983 for the usual pre-ride vet checks and socializing (“partying” may have been more accurate, right?). Early the next morning, though, all of us had to load our horses into their trailers and drive almost 25 miles up highways 89 and 80 to Soda Springs. Many of us shared trailer rides to the start to avoid vehicle congestion. It was exciting as all 233 riders lined up for that 5:00 a.m. shotgun start. As many of you may recall, up until that time, the Tevis Cup always had staggered starts with as many as 30 groups. My memories of that fun and exciting mass start are still vivid - as if it were last year.
What I enjoyed most about that first Soda Springs start was the different trail early in the ride. Of course, the usual Tevis Cup trail is always beautiful; however, riding through the pine forests south of Soda Springs, through The Cedars, and into the first vet check at French Meadows Reservoir was profoundly gorgeous. We left the French Meadows vet check and rode up and over Red Star Ridge and into Duncan Canyon for the long climb to Robinson Flat. The vet check at Robinson did not exist that year because the snow was still five to six feet deep. We rode OVER the snow with only the old ranger buildings poking their roofs above the snow! The snow plows had removed the snow and blazed a path to within a mile or so of Robinson Flat. As we ambled down the plowed road the snow was banked several feet above our heads. That was fun! We knew that we were never again going to ride a trail like this!
The rest of the 1983 ride followed the established Western States trail. In fact, we rode over the relatively “new” California loop trail instead of the old Todd Valley route. We ended up with 135 finishers for a 58% finishing rate that year.
To those of you that are riding this year: Enjoy this once-in- a-lifetime Tevis trail. You may get to use the old Red Star Ridge track to the historic Duncan Canyon Trail to get to Robinson Flat. If the river crossing is deemed too difficult, then you may get to see new trail on the Foresthill Divide above Francisco’s. Either way, Tevis 2017 will be its usual challenge for both horse and rider. Your buckle will be that much more special! We’ll see you out there on the trail!
Mike Peralez, DVM
Ride Director’s Message
Wild weather pounded the Sierras last winter, and as a result, the 2017 Tevis will start at Soda Springs, California. The last of the snow in the high country (at about 7000 feet) is finally melting. Since we cannot get into the Granite Chief wilderness to assess and repair the trail, an alternate route for the first eight miles of this year’s ride has been locked down.
We will camp at the town of Soda Springs one mile off Interstate 80 and just after the intersection of Donner Pass Road and Soda Springs Road next to the beautiful Yuba River. Camping is open from noon Wednesday August 2nd until Saturday the 5th. I recommend you arrive midday Thursday or mid-morning Friday because parking will be tight and shade scarce. Please bring a pop up for mid-day shade if possible.
Check in will be from 10 am until 6 pm Friday. Please allow sufficient time to check in at the camp and then walk or ride your horse to the sheep pens in the beautiful Van Norden Meadow to present to the veterinarians for vet in at that location starting at 12 noon.
The trail this year will proceed about five miles through the Royal Gorge cross country ski area connecting to the Soda Springs Road. From there you will ride to Forest Service Road 51, which will take you up to Lyon Ridge and the Western States Trail.
Once on the Western States Trail, you'll head west over Cougar Rock and on to the Red Star vet check. Just out of Red Star, you'll make a left turn onto Forest Service Road 96 for .7 mile then right on the historic Red Star Ridge trail to Duncan Canyon and up into Robinson Flat for the first one hour hold. At this point the time and mileage is almost identical as it would have been with the traditional start in Truckee.
The Duncan Canyon trail is technical and, therefore, slower but stunning. From the Robinson Flat vet check, we will follow the traditional trail on to Auburn.
If the water level in the American River is too high to cross at Poverty Bar, we have identified alternate trail above Francisco's that will take us across No Hands Bridge and into the Fairgrounds in Auburn. The highest altitude for this route is 7400 feet and will most certainly be clear of the last of the snow.
A note about crewing : The drive time from Soda Springs to Robinson Flat is more than an hour faster than the travel time from Robie Park in Truckee and we will be releasing crews from the start at 4:30 am to drive to Robinson Flat to optimize their ability to arrive ahead of their rider(s).
Auburn Fairgrounds Improvements
In addition, it is with great pride that we announce the completion of the remodel of the Horse Barn C at the Fairgrounds. WSTF crews have opened up the barn and installed new pipe panels on the fronts to allow far better air circulation that will keep your pony cooler.
Ask for this barn when registering if you agree this will be the place to be.
Get your entry in and keep your horse sound.
We will see you at Soda Springs ready to hit the trail and, hopefully at the educational ride on July 8 as well.
2017 Tevis Ride Director
The trail team has been hard at work planning and preparing the trails for this year’s ride. We are happy to report that the majority of the traditional trail is clear and open for training rides with the exception of only two locations;
- No horses are allowed on the trail between Last Chance and Devil's Thumb (including Swinging Bridge) The USFS is currently working on necessary repair work expected to be complete by July 18th just in time for the ride.
- Do not attempt to cross the river at Poverty Bar. The river is moving swift and deep and will not be crossable except for potentially the day of the Tevis Cup Ride.
Some major additional pre-ride trail work scheduled will be July 24 thru August 2. In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Great Basin Institute and American Conservation Experience, the WSTF has helped coordinate these trail repair teams who will be working on the trails near Road 51 and Lyon Ridge working on the Cougar Rock bypass trail, Elephant's Truck and Duncan Canyon. Expect those trails to be in excellent condition the day of the event.
El Dorado and Volcano Canyon and Pieper Junction (Chicken Hawk) Staging area are in excellent shape thanks to the Western States Endurance Run, USFS, and WSTF Trail Teams for all of their hard work and days on the trails
Volunteers are still needed for this year’s Tevis!
Are you an early riser? A night owl? Just want to help out for the part of the day? We have volunteer opportunities for everyone!
Even if you are crewing, or just spectating on Ride Day you might consider being part of the Clean Up team in the days following the Ride.
No experience necessary. For more information and to sign up, go to: