Friday, September 14, 2007

Ride & Tie Right at Home

Cool Ride and Tie event a perfect fit in the foothills' endurance mecca
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
Thursday, September 13, 2007

Scott and Tracy Bakewell, of Pilot Hill, approach the finish line at the Cool Ride and Tie last weekend on the Olmstead Loop in Cool. The Bakewells finished the 13-mile race in 2 hours, 12 minutes to win. Loomis residents Marcia Smith and Tom Johnson took first in the 22-mile race, finishing in 2:34. Mike Ahlbrand/courtesy photo

COOL - Competing a few miles down the road from the Pilot Hill residence, the Bakewell family made itself at home during last weekend's Cool Ride and Tie.

The Olmstead Loop in Cool hosted the second annual event, making it a short trip for local competitors and they took full advantage. While Scott and Tracy Bakewell raced to first place in the 13-mile event, renowned endurance athletes Tom Johnson and Marcia Smith of Loomis, took the top prize in the 22-mile race.

Ride and tie involves two runners and one horse per team. All three team members must cross the finish line and the team must make a minimum of six exchanges between rider and runner throughout the race.

"I love the mix of endurance running and horses," said Tracy Bakewell, took a 15-year break from the sport before returning this year. "I'm very passionate about both and I thought it was unbelievable that a sport like this existed. My husband wasn't into it at all, but he went to a few, got the feel for it and now we can turn it into a family camping weekend adventure."

Emily Bakewell, 8, even got into the action in Cool. She and her mother competed in the four-mile race Saturday afternoon, riding Emily's mustang Rudy.

"She'd wanted to do one for awhile," Tracy explained. "I was really happy they offered an event afterward for the younger riders."

Rufus Schneider and Nita Browning rode Koona to first place in the four-mile race. In the nine-mile division, Madelynn Jordan and Bill Bordan were winners, atop Torche. The Cool Ride and Tie was an immediate hit with the endurance community after Cool's Frank Lieberman introduced it last year. A former Tevis Cup and Western States Endurance Run finisher, Lieberman has been involved with ride and tie for many years and thought a local event would only be appropriate.

"We had talked about it for years," said Lieberman, whose wife Linda also played a key role in organizing the event. "The setting here is perfect for it, so we finally just decided to go ahead and do it."

The event is one of 24 races throughout the country sanctioned by the Ride and Tie Association. It also serves as a fundraiser for the Michael Gray Trust. Gray, who owned the Cool Feed Store, had been a supporter of the inaugural race before suffering a fatal stroke. Last year's proceeds went to the Gray family, while this year's proceeds went to the family of former ride and tie competitor Jeremy Davis, who passed away in July.

Lieberman said 37 teams competed on Saturday as a group of 37 volunteers made sure the event ran smoothly.

"It was one of the bigger turnouts for an event like this that I've seen," said Bakewell, who owns Personalize It, an engraving business. "Having it close to home, we definitely had more support from friends. And we had a chance to promote the sport to some of our friends."

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