One For the Books! Tevis 2017 Re-Cap

Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2017 12:08pm



Tennessee Lane and Auli Farwa


Tennesee Lane
Tenney and Far conquering Cougar Rock



Jeremy Reynolds and Treasured Moments


Treasured Moments and Jeremy at the pre-ride vet check.



Reyna Mero and Triomphe, Tal Zvik and Sharade Le Fey, Brianna Clarke and Captain Khaarelli, Mollie Quiroz and Stars the Limit, Juliana McElroy and MM Chief, Jakob Gregory and Foxfires Little Britches



President's Message

WSTF President Tony Benedetti at the pre-ride vet check


Tevis 2017 is in the books and it will be remembered for being different. A different trail with different challenges from prior years. The ride director, Chuck Stalley, and his ride committee have to be congratulated for organizing a very successful ride in light of the challenges they faced due to the excessive snow last winter. The winter made the ride committee consider two separate starting locations due the snow pack. They also had to consider two different routes after Franciscos due to the fear that the flow of the American River would be too strong to cross. Ultimately, the start was different than usual, starting in Soda Springs, and and the ending was traditional which was apparently a good choice as no horses floated down the American River.

Much like the riders who rode the unique 1983 Tevis trail that started in Soda Springs and went through French Meadows, the riders of the 2017 Tevis can say they also rode a unique trail. The riders of the 2017 Tevis rode a section of the Tevis trail that has not been part of the ride since 1989, and never in conjunction with a Soda Springs start. Like the riders who rode Tevis in 1989 and before, they got to grumble about how long, rocky, and dusty Red Star Ridge is. They got to moan about the four-mile climb at the end of a 36 mile leg out of Duncan Canyon to Robinson Flat. While this route was not considered more difficult than the normal trail, the riding pace turned out to be much slower. Many riders were on cutoff times all day, but they mostly prevailed as only a few missed cutoff times during the day and none at the finish line. Overall we had 53% completion rate which is about average.

The work the Western States Trail Foundation is year round. While the Tevis ride is the most visible event, the Foundation works on trail access and maintenance in one form or another all year. Fund raising is a necessary part of these efforts. The Tevis Store and donations are a big part of our income so please either shop at the Tevis Store or donate in some manner. The Board of Governors contribute a tremendous amount of their time on behalf of the Foundation. The BOG's efforts would not be successful without the help from so many volunteers, both on race day and year round, the support of our vendors and sponsors, the financial support from our donors, and the participation of our riders. 2018 is already in our sights and we will be ready regardless of what challenges arise. Please plan on riding in 2018, and if you can't ride, contribute in some manner during the year.

Tony Benedetti
President WSTF

Ride Director’s Message

Chuck Stalley
Chuck Stalley, Ride Director


Enough time has passed that I am recovered enough to file the post ride report from the ride director perspective for the 2017 alternate snow route Tevis Cup ride. I would like to thank the Tahoe Donner Land Trust organization for their faith in the Tevis Cup ride committee and our volunteers to conduct the ride over their land and leave no trace. Amazingly, we had a 53% completion rate with 172 starters and 92 completers. Six juniors started the ride and six juniors finished the ride. Congratulations to the future of endurance riding!

I think those 172 riders showed up at Soda Springs with 500 trailers to park in an area that holds maybe 130. For me, that was one of the most difficult things I have done in a while. When I was sure that our area was full, I looked up Soda Springs Road and saw four more rigs heading in for parking. I looked the other way at traffic and a lone CHP cruiser rolled by giving me the “oh, no you can’t” look. At that point I told Roger Yohe, "This is where we find out how good we are." We ended up putting the last trailers to arrive on the pavement of the overflow and Vendor parking area with just enough room to put the horses on dirt alongside. It was almost as if we planned it that way.

Mike Spain, our host at Soda Springs Lodge, always had a smile on his face. When I returned the week after the ride to assess the damage and check on cleanup, etc. I asked Mike, "Well, what do you think?" And he answered, "If I ride the ride, I'll ride a mule." The folks at Soda Springs would love to have us back. Awesome job Tevis riders, crews and staff! Let it snow!!

Nothing gives a person more grey hair than an untested trail! When selecting an alternate trail, I had to consider the mileage first and the time it takes to ride that trail route second. The new trail from Soda Springs would travel through an area called the Royal Gorge cross country ski area. These beautiful trails took us to the six and a half mile marker where they connected to Soda Springs Road. The trails are slow but the road was expected to be fast. We thought the pace of the first horses would be 10 miles an hour with the last horses averaging 5 miles per hour to make our cutoffs.

I decided I should go to the new Red Star Ridge vet check at the 20 mile point as that would be my first opportunity to see how the times for the first and last riders would stack up to expectations. When the first horse came into Red Star 50 minutes behind our expectation, my wheels started spinning. The 40 front-running horses came in nicely spread out but then (in the last hour) 132 horses came through nose to tail, but as a group, they looked great. We only had 6 pulls at Red Star, and they were all for lameness.

The hot weather from earlier in the week had cooled and the forecast in Auburn was predicting 94 degrees on Saturday. But the cutoff time needed to be adjusted at Robinson Flat or we were going to have 70 horses overtime! I called Mike Picket at Net Control and stated the problem and asked that we extend the cutoff time into Robinson Flat by 30 minutes. He agreed and said because of the cooler weather those riding the cutoff should be able to make up the time. Fortunately, Barbara White at a little aid station in the bottom of Duncan Canyon was able to tell the riders that their cutoff time extension was 30 minutes. We also extended the time for Last Chance and Deadwood vet checks by 15 minutes. Then I watched the group of sixty-something horses just make the extended cutoffs. I had to extend the in time cutoff for Foresthill by 15 minutes as two thirds of the riders were riding very close to the cutoff time. The last horses to make the extended cutoff at Foresthill had to trot all the way up Bath Road to the in timer.

This is a very unusual scenario to have that many horses arrive in the last hour, but as they left Foresthill, I thought, “It is now up to them as they have to get to Auburn by 5:15 am. Sure enough, 62 horses finished in the last hour and the stories from riders, riding under great stress, are amazing. They could not spend extra time letting their horses eat or rest as they were on the march to the 5:15 finish. The last finisher arrived in Auburn at 5:07 am and no one came in after 5:15. Time spent in line waiting for an in time or a veterinarian have could cost a finish that had been the focus of a year’s work. But it didn’t happen. The volunteers, riders, and vets all adjusted their paces to do what they could to get riders through.

Tevis 2017 will be remembered as the year of a great race up front between Lindsay Graham on Monk and Tennessee Lane on Far. Both riders were within a couple of minutes of each other leaving Francisco’s at 86 miles. At the finish the order had switched and Tennessee Lane on Far came in at 10 pm for the victory. Both horses and riders represented well and all the members of the BOG are more than satisfied with the fairness of the competition.

Congratulations to all who met their goals! This year’s event called upon everyone involved to think on their feet, give all they had, handle stress and pressure—all the while doing it with a smile. We should all be proud of the world class event delivered by the BOG, Vet check Head Volunteers, shoers, Ride Committee, Volunteers, Horse Transport, Veterinarians, and amazing sponsors! See you on July 28, 2018 for our next “rodeo”.

Chuck Stalley
Ride Director

Trail Report

Trail Crew

This years’ trail committee worked extra hard getting the trails prepared for race day. Thank you to the riders who challenged themselves with the course this year. We can't have a ride without the participants - both riders and the wonderful hundreds of volunteers. The WSTF BOG and Trails Committee wants to extend a special thank you to the many people who contributed over 1900 man hours of trail work time this year working on our trails. It was a large amount of work in a very short amount of time. We plan to post some fall trail work dates soon. Please check the Tevis website under volunteer page for more info or email if you'd like to be included on our trail volunteer roster.

Ultrasound Study Recap

The Ultrasound study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University was a huge success. The initial plan was to study between 40-60 horses. Due to the encouragement of the rides veterinarians and the enthusiasm of the riders, 100 horses had ultrasound scans before the ride and a total of 78 were scanned at the finish or wherever they were eliminated. In addition, hair samples were obtained from 100 starting horses. The Spartan Vets and their assistants, led by Hal Schott, PhD, were extremely pleased with rider participation and thoroughly impressed with the veterinary organization of the Tevis.

new start
Brian Reome and Hondo - heros in our midst

Tevis Preparation – It Works!

Twenty one riders who participated in the 2017 Tevis Educational Ride started Tevis. Twelve finished for a 57% completion rate. Improve your odds!

2018 is the Tevis Fun ride, a one day event that travels the California trail from Foresthill to Drivers Flat. Date: TBA

2019 the Tevis is early, July 13th. The Tevis Educational Ride, tentative Save The Date, is June 7, 8, and 9. Let's hope for a mild winter!

THANK YOU Volunteers!

A big thank you to all the 2017 Tevis volunteers – it couldn’t happen without you!



THANK YOU to our Wonderful Vendors!

Teri Miller, et all, Tevis Store--Everywhere!!
Bobbie Reagan, Shadowtree--Soda Springs
Bill Gore photography, covering the event
Dominique Cognee (Kumba Visual Arts), covering the event
Lynn Glazier Photography, covering the event
Diane Seager, American Trail Gear, Soda Springs & Auburn
Gail & Eric Hought, Hought Endurance Tack, Soda Springs & Auburn
Samantha Farmer, Cavalor Feeds, Soda Springs & Foresthill
Larry Green, EEZ, Auburn
Elise Geske, Reactor Panel Daddles, Soda Springs, Foresthill, Auburn
Larkin Greene, Vettec, Soda Springs & Auburn


Hank Cook, DVM, long time vet for endurance riding and horse racing, passed away on Aug. 19. His memorial is planned for Monday, Aug. 28 at Chapel of the Valley on Atlantic St. in Roseville at 4:00 PM. He moved to this area to study horses on the Tevis particularly. He was much respected and will be missed.

Lora Wereb
Lora Wereb on Spinout Merlin expressing how we all feel