Saturday, February 18, 2012

A horse story to beat them all - Full Article

By John M. Motter columnist

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My favorite horse story was printed in a 1908 edition of the Denver Post.

My copy of the story was provided by Karen Hine, a descendant of Pagosa pioneer Maude Hart, whose son-in-law was Billy Kern. Both were Pagosa pioneers from the earliest days of settlement.

The Rocky Mountain West of the first decade of the 1900s still had a lot of Wild West character. Cars and trains and steamboats — even the Wright Brothers’ airplane — had all been invented. Still, horses were the main means of transportation “way out west.”

Everybody knows westerners loved a good horse race.

One-time famous cartoonist Homer Davenport was apparently a horse enthusiast. He happened to remark while visiting Denver that Arabian horses could travel farther and faster than any other breed.

Davenport’s remarks incited the Denver Post to promote a long distance race to see if Arabians really were better.

After much debate, conditions for the race were established.

Called the Great Endurance Race, the path stretched from Evanston in the southwest corner of Wyoming to Denver. It was a treacherous trail over the Continental Divide, some of the roughest of western terrain.

The race would start the morning of May 30, but all entries were due by midnight of the twentieth. The Post would charter a special train leaving Denver on the twenty-sixth to carry the riders and their horses assembled there and would pick up others at specific points along the way. Other expenses and all risks would be borne by the entrants.

There were prizes for the top six finishers; $500, $350, $200, $150, $100 and $50. An additional $300 in gold would be paid to the one finishing in the best condition...

Read more here:

No comments: