Thursday, March 06, 2008

Annual Endurance Awards Announced at American Endurance Ride Conference Annual Convention

Press Release: March 06 2008

By Troy Smith

Bill Wilson, a 72-year-old from Pekin, IN, was named to the American Endurance Ride Conference's (AERC) Hall of Fame at the association’s awards ceremony, held March 1 in Reno, NV. Wilson completed 24 of 25 50- to 55-mile competitions for a total of 1,775 miles in 2007, and has a total of 21,645 miles of endurance completions to date. He is also a trails advocate and a willing worker for preservation and building of trails.

The horse named to AERC’s Hall of Fame for 2007 was CH Catch Me If You Can, a 16-year-old Half-Arabian bay gelding owned by Earle Baxter. Catch Me, whose home is in Millbank, Ontario, travels with Baxter to rides throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2007, they completed 735 miles in competitions from Michigan to New Mexico. Catch Me was also presented AERC’s “Perfect Ten” award, given to equines with 10,000 miles of competition and a minimum of 10 best condition awards and 10 first places.

Mike Tracy and Aron Moon+// of Hollister, CA, were presented with the Pard’ners Award, given to the horse-and-rider team that best exemplifies true partnership. At their first ride many years ago, Tracy came into the first veterinary checkpoint “looking like a chicken tied to the rotor of a helicopter,” according to award presenter Robert Ribley, although “Aron looked great.” Through 18 years of competition, the team grew into formidable competitors and fast friends whose partnership has been an inspiration to many.

The Volunteer Service award was presented to Jerry Fruth, who has been a tireless advocate of trails for the nonprofit organization for many years. Fruth, of Wadesville, IN, was instrumental in founding AERC’s Trail Master program, which trains people to build and maintain sustainable trails across the U.S.

AERC’s annual convention featured informational seminars, hands-on hoof labs, regional and national award ceremonies and an extensive trade show dedicated to endurance riding. Next year’s convention is set for February 20 and 21, 2009, in Louisville, KY.

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