Wow, where were you guys? SKYMONT WAS GREAT! :-D Honestly, we do rides in sweltering heat, freezing rain, etc. etc. and then *finally* you get to go to that ride where the weather is PERFECT. You have a beautiful drive in with the fall colors at their peek, pull into a camp that overlooks a gorgeous lake with all those orange and yellow trees reflected like a mirror and have just a first class experience from the word go.
The biggest thing that happened was that General Jeb Stuart, Karen Isaac's great horse hit the 8,000 mile mark! Karen & Thomas are expecting a child in January so Karen had someone else up but was right there crewing when Jeb hit his milestone. It's great to see a really great horse & rider just keep going and going! He didn't just eek through either. I believe he was 5th place.
I had the whole family plus 2 involved so we looked like the keystone cops unloading all the stuff. I rode Seven, Josie had Cade (finally graduated from high school and no more sports to work around!!!) We even had the *other daughter* (as Bonnie refers to herself) riding since Jody Buttram offered her a mount in the 25. Talk about pulling a kid "out of the field" and doing a tough ride. I don't think she'd been farther than 3 miles on a horse in years, but she had a great time. My old pal Lynda Webber (used to be Lynda Corry) formerly of Texas fame finally got another mount and filled up the third slot in my trailer. Yee ha, splitting the gas right when prices dropped...life is good! She came back in style finishing 12th with her new horse Baily...thanks to Becky in Atlanta for selling her such a good horse!
Bill was the official spotter that we passed 7 times during the ride so it was easy to keep in touch as to how everyone else was doing. That worked out great, there was that one spot you just looped past each time, sometimes twice and they had big barrels of water there. Once the horses had been to them once they knew the drill and everybody drank great. Unlike some places, they kept topping them off all day so even when you were in back there was lots of fresh clear water waiting. :-))
June and Larry Jordan do an absolutely amazing job of putting this whole thing together themselves. You'll never find a better marked trail and June did all 38 miles of it herself. The fact that this ride is held on a Boy Scout reservation means the roads are simply jeep trails that for the most part have never seen gravel. A combination of jeep roads and trails along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau with gorgeous views makes for one of those days you hope you can think back on when you can't do this sport any more. The fall colors against the BLUE sky were dazzling.
In the 50 miler I think there were 29 starters and 21 finishers. Sandy Thompson took home the beautiful oak hand made tack trunk for first place and Rebecca Nelson won BC which was a really nice rolling bale bag.
In the 25 I think there were 51 starters and ummm 45? finishers. Eddie Edwards won 1st & BC in the 25, but since he just finished fast and went home I'm guessing Susan Kasemayer is going to get some use out of his awards he left behind. (Note to Eddie, if somebody *tells* you they're not going to deliver your prizes if you just win and go home, you might ought to *believe* them!) >eg<
There's not that many rides where you can have your ride meeting, awards dinner/meeting and a Sunday morning breakfast complete with biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, candied apples, scrambled eggs (with or without cheese) and hash browns (with or without peppers). Oh yeah, and coffee and juice *and* a fire in the fireplace! Finish that off with Dr. Ike Nelson's Cowboy church service and you've had a weekend that sends you back to work wishing it wasn't over yet. :-)
It was a great ride and I highly recommend you all put it on your calender for next year.