Tevis Cup this weekend | SierraSun.com

Tevis Cup this weekend

Completing the Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride takes a little bit more than good horse and a day to kill, according to Western States Trail Foundation ride director Merv Pyorre.

It takes years of training – for both horse and rider – a strong will and a little luck.

Horses and riders will converge on Robie Equestrian Park south of Truckee on Highway 267 this weekend to take part in the ride, which starts at 5:15 a.m. Saturday, and pushes riders to a finish line in Auburn by the same time Sunday morning.

“We consider completing the race to be winning the race,” Pyorre said.

Accolades for winners include the coveted silver belt buckle proclaiming the ‘100-miles in one day’ accomplishment. The first place winner takes home the Tevis Cup. The rider with the horse in the best condition to continue, judged by a team of veterinarians, takes home the ultimate prize: the James Ben Haggin Cup.

Several riders have completed 10 of the races, and an even more exclusive handful has made 20 rides. Each accomplishment earns a specially embroidered silver belt buckle.

The ride dates back to August 1955, when Wendell Robie, a logger and banker with holdings throughout local Sierra towns, gathered several friends for the challenge. It has since become a highlight event in the arena of horsemanship, attracting riders from around the globe.

“Probably year in, year out, it is the hardest endurance race there is today,” Pyorre said. “Historically, the completion rate is 55 percent. You should condition the horse two years before you try this. You have to put the miles in to condition the bones and tendons. To get the horse used to the weight of the rider.”

Horses have to go through a rigorous veterinary check before the race, and at 17 stops along the way. The required veterinary check-in is scheduled for Friday at Robie Equestrian park south of Truckee. It starts at 11 a.m. and runs all day. Spectators are welcome to come and eat at one of the concession booths, or stay for a catered dinner.

The 48th annual Tevis Cup 100-mile endurance ride follows portions of the Western States Trail, which stretches from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.

From Truckee, the trail descends nine miles to the Truckee River at the Midway Crossing on Highway 89.

The trail takes a route through Squaw Valley and the Granite Chief Wilderness, and ascends from the valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass near Watson’s Monument (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in 4 1/2 miles.

From the pass, riders travel west, ascending another 15,540 feet and descending approximately 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn via the traditional route through Robinson Flat, Last Chance, Deadwood, Michigan Bluff, Foresthill, and Francisco’s.

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