Sunday, August 30, 2009
By Jo Chytka
Lyle Sherfey, horse ranch manager for Rush Creek Arabians out of Lisco, Neb., anticipates about 30 riders will compete in the upcoming endurance races to be held September 5 and 6, 2009. The beginning point of the races will be halfway between Lisco and Oshkosh on the south side of the highway; roads will be marked.
Four races will be run over the two-day event; two 50 mile races and two 25 mile races. Each day the 50 mile race will be started at 6:30 a.m. and the 25 mile race will follow at 7:30 a.m.
"Rush Creek Arabians has raised horses for the sport of endurance racing for over 50 years and have held the Reunion races for the past three. Lyle said, "All the races are AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) sanctioned. Riders may sign up from now until the morning of the race.
"The races will be run in loops of 15 and 10 mile increments with the 50 mile race needing to be completed in 12 hours and the 25 mile in 6 hours," Sherfey said.
"There will be two veterinarians on hand to check the horses, multiple times during the races at scheduled vet check sites. Head veterinarian will be Dr. Otis Schmitt from TN who travels the United States to vet endurance races and Dr. Richard Palmer out of Ogallala, Neb., who will be the treatment vet," Lyle said. "In addition there will be three to five people on hand at the PNR (pulse and respiration) stations to monitor the horses."
"All the miles covered will be on Rush Creek Ranch land and will present a variety of terrain, from canyons to rolling hills with sandy soil. The 15 mile loop crosses a creek several times, providing horses the opportunity to drink and stay hydrated," Sherfey said.
The type of tack is not specific and riders can choose to ride with a Western saddle, English or endurance and wear whatever type of head gear they like, expect for anyone under the age of 16 must wear a riding helmet.
"In past years riders have come from Colorado, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and a few from Montana," Lyle said. "Some have even come from as far away as Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Utah. Roughly 90% of the horses are Arabian with the rest being mules, Morgans, thoroughbred crosses and a few Quarter horses, with more of them in the shorter distance rides. A few people ride stallions, but not many. As far as gender of riders, females make up about 60-75% of contestants and overall ages can vary between 5 years old and eighty."
Lyle himself competes in endurance races, but will have to sit this one out, since his horse Rushcreek Nerf recently competed in the Tevis Cup race in California and went on to another race and won't be back in time to run. Rushcreek Nerf, ridden by Laura Hayes from New York, came in 25th out of 172 horses, with only 51% completing the 100 mile race. The Tevis Cup is considered the toughest endurance race in the United States.
Competitors will be able to camp at the race site overnight. A banquet of barbecue pork will be held each evening with an awards ceremony to follow. Awards will be given for the winners of each race along with, highest mileage horse and highest vet score as well as a turtle trophy for the last person to finish each race. A Best Condition award will also be given for each race, in memory of the notable Rush Creek Arabian endurance horses Rushcreek Ladd and Rushcreek Mark.
The first 10 finishing horses in each race will contend for the Best Condition award. Many factors are taken into consideration and the ride veterinarians determine the veterinary portion of the criteria and ride management determines the weight and time portion of the award. Sherfey said, "The Best Condition award is considered more valuable to many than winning the race."
If you need more information about this event you may contact Lyle Sherfey at (308) 772-4535.