February 22 2014
For 26 years, the annual Twenty Mule Team endurance ride has drawn riders from around the country to the Mojave desert in Ridgecrest, California. One of the premiere 100-mile rides in the winter (there's also a 65 and a 35 mile ride), it was started by Jim and Jackie Bumgardner in 1989; Robert and Melissa Ribley took over the ride in 2007 and continue to manage it.
Brandon Reed riding BA Resolute (aka Goliver) won this year's 100 mile ride in 8:51, by 8 minutes over Diane Stevens riding Banderaz LC. Brandon was first heavyweight, and BA Resolute also won Best Condition.
29 of 33 completed the 100. It's the second highest completion rate - 87% - in the history of the ride. 2013 saw 89% complete the 100.
Finishing 16th was Gina Hall on Fire Mt Destiny in 15:32 - Destiny's 19th 100-mile completion.
Elizabeth Funderburk and her gaited mare Eagle Eyes Miss Dixie, (known as Team Fixie, with a big fan club), and JayaMae Gregory, riding Foxfire's Little Britches, all finished their first 100 mile ride, coming in 23rd and 24th in 17:38. Katy Elliot riding Kodaakhrom finished with them in 22nd place.
The 65 mile ride had 36 starters and 34 finishers. Zach Rabow and RTR Rimfire won the ride, High Vet Score and Best Condition.
The 35 mile ride had 29 starters and 27 finishers. Justin Loewen was the winner.
**This post originally stated Brandon Reed set a course record of 8:51 for the 100-mile ride. While he did set a new course record over the current trails, Jennifer Waitte and Al Baraaq hold the original record of 8:45, set in 2000.